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A.12. International expert workshop on the 2010 Biodiversity Indicators and Post-2010 Indicator Development (6-8 July 2009) 244



1. In July 2009, UNEP-WCMC convened a workshop with the CBD Secretariat and the support of the UK Government to review the use and effectiveness of the 2010 biodiversity indicators, and to consider implications for development of the post-2010 targets and indicators. Discussions at this workshop, which involved 70 stakeholders from some 25 countries, focused on four key areas: sufficiency of the current 2010 biodiversity indicator set; its scientific rigour; the policy relevance of the indicators; and their effective communication. 244

a) the framework is comprehensive, and can be mapped to other frameworks (such as DPSIR), but there have been problems showing how it fits together to integrate the indicators into a coherent story, and the complexity of biodiversity and of the framework is a continuing problem in terms of communicating to disparate audiences; 244

b) the framework is primarily structured around CBD priorities, but its relevance to other sectors and MEA processes is less clear, thereby hindering its uptake and use beyond the CBD, meanwhile the parallel development of the CBD targets/ goals and the indicator framework has led to a disconnect which was not intended; 244

c) the framework is flexible, thereby enabling implementation at a variety of scales, and focusing on outcomes has focused minds and spurred engagement, and this has facilitated political adoption, but the absence of clear targets and awareness raising is a barrier to arousing public interest; 244

d) there is a tension between scientific rigour and communicating the results of the indicators to a variety of audiences (both are needed), and methods for assessing the significance of change, and distance to target are underdeveloped, which is a problem for both scientific rigour and communication of the results; 244

e) some indicators are well developed, others are still under developed, and the current indicator set is incomplete in a number of areas, including wild genetic resources, human well-being, ecosystem quality and services, threats, sustainable use, ABS and so on; and 244

f) there is no clear process or criteria for evaluating the scientific rigour of the indicators; the representatively and adequacy of the data underlying them needs to be transparently documented, and their geographic, taxonomic and temporal coverage needs to be improved; 244

g) the communication that has taken place has been ad-hoc, opportunistic, and more focused on reporting than a systematic effort to convey the lessons from the indicators, meanwhile biodiversity means different things to different sectors, and the messages from individual indicators and the set as a whole do not take this fully into account. 244

A.13. Areas of overlap of various indicator processes with the CBD biodiversity indicator framework, an example using selected processes 246

A.14. Review of assessments and their role in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystem services 247


1. Assessments are social processes, which aim to bring the findings of science to bear on policy and decision-making. They involve a dialogue and interface between the policy or decision-making community and the scientific community, in order to: 1) determine and articulate policy needs for scientific information; 2) to respond to those needs through a credible process of information compilation and then critical judgement of that information; and 3) the communication of the assessment findings to decision-makers in a policy-relevant manner. Although scientific reviews have been widely conducted, assessments on biodiversity and ecosystems services, which provide critical judgement of the information in response to the needs of decision-makers, are relatively recent. 247

373. Assessments can be undertaken at multiple scales, to meet the needs of multiple or single decision-makers, and there is a wide variety of existing and recent assessment initiatives focused on biodiversity and ecosystem services at global, regional, national and local scales. 247

Recent and ongoing assessment initiatives 247



374. During the last decade, there has been a proliferation of assessments relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services, at global and sub-global scales. Drawing on early experiences of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other assessments such as on ozone and on biodiversity in the 1990s, the most recent series of global assessments have increasingly been designed to be policy-relevant, credible and legitimate. They have also increasingly aimed to be more integrated in the manner in which biodiversity and ecosystems services issues are assessed. 247

375. Key amongst recent global assessments of biodiversity and ecosystem services have been the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA), the 4th Global Environment Outlook (GEO4), the IPCC 4th assessment report (AR4), the International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (CAWMA), the 2nd Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO2), the 2005 Forest Resources Assessment (FRA), the Global International Waters Assessment (GIWA), and the global Assessment of Peatlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change. 247


376. The thematic focus of recent global assessments varies between those focusing strictly on biodiversity assessment, such as the GBO or IUCN Red List assessments, those encompassing a broad ecosystem service assessment, such as the MA and GEO, and those focussing on a narrower range of specific ecosystem services, such as FRA, GIWA, IAASTD, LADA. Likewise, many of the recent and ongoing global assessments cover a full range of ecosystems, such as in the MA, GEO, and IPCC, and some focus on specific ecosystem types, such as GIWA, LADA, FRA, and the Assessment of Peatlands, Biodiversity and Climate Change. 247

377. Most recent and ongoing assessments evaluate both environmental and socio-economic factors. Key elements include: status and trend of natural resources and their relationship with human well-being and development, environmental issues and impacts of drivers of change on the environment, and scenarios and response options. Only one of the ongoing global assessments, the Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO), additionally evaluates the implementation of a specific corresponding policy mechanism (the CBD) for its impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services. The World Water Development Report (WWDR) and the Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (CAWMA) also considered the effectiveness of resource management, but not with regards to a particular policy, and the MA considered the effectiveness of a broad range of policy responses, but not comprehensively with regard to particular policy mechanisms. 247

378. In addition to variation in content and coverage, recent assessments also vary considerably in their design and process. Some, such as the MA and GIWA, were designed as one-off assessments that could be repeated in the future should the demand and resources exist. Others, such as GEO, GBO, IPCC, and FRA, are part of ongoing assessment initiatives (see diagram illustrating schedule and Table below). Some, such as the MA, the IPCC and GEO, involve a broad spectrum of the scientific community, whilst others, such as the GBO and FRA, are based on contributions from a more selective group of experts (see Table below). The breadth of stated target audiences also varies considerably between assessments. 247


379. There is a wide range of scientific community and non-governmental involvement in assessments. Assessments with high numbers of individual involvement (1000-2500 individuals) include MA, IPCC, GIWA, and the RedList assessments. Assessments with medium involvement (400-900 individuals) include CAWMA and the GEO. Assessments with low involvement (<60 individuals compiling the assessment material) include AoA (GMA), FRA, TEEB, GBO, and WWDR. Despite the relatively smaller number of scientists involved in some of these processes, many of these assessments have very strong and credible scientific involvement within multi-stakeholder advisory groups or guidance teams, and often draw on the work of many hundreds or more individuals beyond the direct assessment team. 247

380. In the case of terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystem services, the vast majority of the data and much of the expertise for its analysis is found in civil society – including in the various science institutions and networks, and in non-governmental organisations at national, regional and international scales. Data, information and expertise is also held by local communities, and the private sector (especially in the case of some provisioning services). 248

381. A number of recent global assessments, such as GEO4, and the IPCC 4th assessment, have been overseen by intergovernmental governance bodies, providing significant legitimacy for their findings amongst national governments. In the case of the MA and IAASTD, the assessments were overseen by a multi-stakeholder board, including governmental, non-governmental and private sector stakeholders. Experiences from these and earlier assessments, such as the Global Biodiversity Assessment in the mid-1990’s, suggest that strong governmental involvement in assessment governance supports (although does not guarantee) the uptake of assessment findings by governments. In addition to Governments, many civil society actors, including NGOs, private sector organisations, and community groups are also key users of assessment information. 248


382. Along with the recent proliferation of global assessments, there has also been an increasing number of sub-global assessments conducted and planned in the last decade – at scales from continental to local communities. The MA, GIWA, GEO4 and IAASTD explicitly included sub-global (in most cases regional, and in the case of the MA some multi-scale) assessment elements. A range of independent regional assessments have also been conducted, such as the Arctic Climate Change Impact Assessment, and there have been many national level assessment-type activities, often as part of national state of the environment reporting processes. In the coastal and marine realm, the Global and Regional Marine Assessment Database (GRAMED) lists more than 70 regional assessments. 248

383. Sub-global assessments vary considerably in their scope and coverage, depending on the geographic location and information needs for decision-making at the scale of assessment. They also use a wide variety of data and indicators, which has allowed for those assessments to better respond to user needs at the scale of operation. 248

Strengths of existing processes 248


384. There is no doubt that issues which have been treated comprehensively by a credible, legitimate and relevant assessment processes have had higher political prominence, and have been addressed in more comprehensive and sophisticated ways in policy fora than those issues which have not been considered by such assessments. The Scientific Assessments of Ozone depletion, and the IPCC, for example, have had considerable impact on the discourse and (in the case of climate change, ongoing) policy processes. It is a widely held belief that this is in large part due to the intergovernmental character of the governing bodies of these assessments. These assessments are frequently cited as the latest source of credible information, including in decisions of the MEAs and in ongoing policy dialogues. 248


385. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, despite being frequently cited as falling short in its communication potential, has however brought the concept of ecosystem services, and to some degree the process of integrated assessment, into mainstream environmental and development political processes, and is frequently cited in environmental, and development dialogues. Likewise, GBO2 remains a key point of reference within the CBD to the status of global biodiversity. For those user communities that have requested scientific information, and for which assessments have been undertaken at the particular scale and with the particular focus of relevance, there have been considerable benefits from the recent series of assessment initiatives. In particular, regular assessments, such as the IPCC, the Ozone assessment, the GBO, and FRA, provide an opportunity to periodically update the state of knowledge, and to provide focused assessment on emerging policy issues. 249

Weaknesses, gaps and needs in assessment processes 249


386. Although many recent assessments have been designed with the explicit intention of influencing decision-makers within the context of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, only very few, including the MA, IPCC, LADA and GBO, have been explicitly endorsed by those MEAs that they seek to inform. Of the assessments explicitly endorsed or otherwise officially recognised by MEAs, only the IPCC and GBO are anticipated to be repeated in the future - the remainder were conceived as one-off initiatives. Other assessments, such as GEO and GIWA have been endorsed by other decision-making, or intergovernmental, fora such as the UNEP Governing Council. Lack of endorsement by the MEAs can restrict the ability of MEA Secretariats to play a role in supporting the assessment processes, and communicating their findings to Government users. Although some assessments with intergovernmental governing bodies have had relatively little impact on policy processes, it is clear that formal recognition and endorsement by users is critical for the successful impact of an assessment. 249


387. At the sub-global scale there remains relatively little coherence or coordination between approaches to assessment within and between scales. Even those assessments that are well networked within the MA follow-up process make use of a wide variety of data and indicators within a diversity of thematic scope and geographical coverage, which complicates the synthesis of lessons across assessment initiatives, and hampers the process of drawing conclusions relating to multi-scale aspects of biodiversity and ecosystem services. There remains significant potential for better linking assessments at different geographic scales, and with different but related thematic foci, through the use of a core set of common, scaleable variables. This would allow for the assessment of linkages between ecosystem services at different scales – for example global climate regulation and local climate-related hazard prevention. Likewise, effective and coherent assessments linking global and local values of biodiversity conservation have been limited to date. 249

388. A wide variety of conceptual frameworks are also used for assessment design and implementation, although at a global scale for recent integrated assessments, and in many regional and national assessments, there has been an increasing convergence on variations of the framework developed in the MA global and sub-global assessments (an ecosystem services and human well-being focused variation of the DPSIR framework). The forthcoming publication of the MA methodology manual, currently being finalised by UNEP-WCMC and partners, is likely to help considerably in bringing coherence to assessment process and design in the future, although there remains a continued need for coordination, and remains a gap in any process by which syntheses from the ongoing and completed sub-global assessments can be drawn in the future. 249

389. Many assessment initiatives have been limited by data and information availability. This is the case at all geographic scales for a range of ecosystem services and for biodiversity. Gaps in data for biodiversity and non-provisioning ecosystem services are particularly widespread, and in many cases prevent more comprehensive assessment being completed at global, regional, national or local scales. In terms of scope and coverage of ecosystems considered by biodiversity and ecosystem services assessments, there has also been relatively less assessment focussed in some key biomes and system types, including islands, mountains, wetlands, oceans, polar and urban systems. Relatively less attention has also been given to regulating and supporting services, and there remain key assessment gaps on the interlinkages between biodiversity and climate change. 249


390. Whilst there are expected to be ongoing periodic assessments planned that focus on climate (IPCC), water (WWDR), forest resources (FRA) and biodiversity (GBO), (see diagram illustrating schedule) few of these or other ongoing assessments provide flexible mechanisms to respond to demands from Multilateral Environmental Agreements for targeted or rapid integrated assessments on emerging issues relating to biodiversity and the full spectrum of ecosystem services. In addition, although there may be spin-off benefits from the convening of the scientific community which helps to accelerate the publication of scientific papers, the long time-scale periodicity of the ongoing global assessments can preclude responding to many emerging issues in a timely manner to guide decision-making, even for those selected issues which are covered by such assessments. 249

A.15. Examples of horizon scanning and futures techniques for providing early warnings on emerging issues of concern 252


1. Horizon scanning can be defined as “the systematic examination of potential threats, opportunities and likely future developments which are at the margins of current thinking and planning”. It can be used as the first stage in a futures or foresight approach, where horizon scanning identifies emerging issues and trends that can then be explored in detail using a diversity of futures techniques. Such approaches are best developed in the business sector for analysis of future markets, strategic planning and risk management, but have been increasingly used by governments, particularly in response to international security and health concerns. The environment, including biodiversity, has increasingly featured in such exercises with recognition that environmental degradation will have a significant impact on future development, security and the economy. In turn, a number of programmes have emerged to assess the potential impacts of future social, economic and environmental trends on biodiversity. 252

The horizon scanning process 252


391. A useful generic framework for horizon scanning is proposed by the SKEP (Scientific Knowledge for Environmental Protection) ERA-Net project, based on their review of environmental horizon scanning across EU member states. This presents a process with three main elements: 252

392. Gathering knowledge: a first step that generates a large volume of information on future issues and trends from a wide range of sources e.g. science and technology publications; conference proceedings, patent applications; media sources; policy and political developments; and individual testimonies from experts, activists, analysts, politicians, business leaders and lay people. This information can be gathered with broad literature and internet reviews; and by stakeholder engagement through interviews and workshops. 252

393. Organizing knowledge: developing scenarios, sorting issues for their likely importance and prioritising issues for further exploration. This tends to involve the use of criteria that ‘rank’ issues on likely importance, and consultative process with stakeholders. 252

394. Using the outputs: e.g. to inform research strategies, design policies or to initiate and inform dialogue with stakeholders. 252

395. The SKEP review stresses the need for adequate stakeholder engagement in each stage of this process to gather knowledge from all relevant sources; confront different perspectives; make planning procedures more legitimate and democratic and ensure stakeholders are committed to implementation. This is particularly important where issues are highly contentious or there is a high degree of uncertainty. This will require adequate participation of all stakeholders including researchers, policy makers and the public. 252

Futures techniques and initiatives 252

A.16. Review of Capacity Fundamental to the Science-Policy Interface through National Capacity Self-Assessments 254


1. Capacity building for biodiversity and ecosystem services is a cross-cutting and multi-level key constituent for environmental governance in which all legitimate stakeholders exercise their rights equitably, through informed and active participation. The importance of capacity building is recognized by all Rio Conventions and actively implemented by national and international stakeholders. 254

399. There are three levels for targeted national capacity building action: the individual, the institutional and the national systemic levels. Capacity building efforts are likely to have the greatest impact if they are considered as part of a holistic approach. The outcomes to be achieved should contribute to all levels, especially the individual and the institutional. 255

400. There are many institutions, programmes and processes supporting capacity building in developing countries and countries with economies in transition, including UNDP, UNEP and FAO, GEF and a wide range of other multilateral and bilateral development assistance agencies, most of the MEAs, as well as some assessment processes. For example the following. 255

401. The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) describes how UN agencies and programmes working at the national level can coherently respond to the priorities identified in national development frameworks supporting countries in achieving MDG-related national priorities. Capacity building needs of developing countries are identified in many of the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) developed in the context of the CBD, the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, the National Adaptation Programmes of Action to Climate Change, and so on. Building on these nationally identified priorities, the UN Development Assistance Framework identifies how UN agencies and programmes working at the national level can support countries in achieving MDG-related national priorities. 255


402. The UNEP Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building provides for a framework and systematic measures for technological support and capacity building based on national or regional priorities and needs: 255

a) To strengthen the capacity, in particular of developing countries and countries with economies in transition, to, inter alia: participate fully in the development of coherent international environmental policy, particularly with regard to MEAs; improve compliance with international agreements and implementation of their obligations at the national level; and improve achievement of national environmental goals, targets and objectives; and 255

b) To support a number of important capacity building needs, including the need to strengthen national capacities for data collection, research, analysis, monitoring and integrated environmental assessment; support for assessments of environmental issues of regional and subregional importance and for the assessment and early warning of emerging environmental issues; support for scientific exchanges and for the establishment of environmental and inter-disciplinary information networks; and promotion of coherent partnership approaches. 255

403. The National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) programme for environmental management, established by the GEF, in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), to identify capacity needs of developing countries to effectively meet the challenges of national and global sustainable development and environmental governance, and to strategically enhance their capacity. 255

404. However, despite these efforts, there remain considerable gaps in capacity relevant for the science-policy interface on biodiversity and ecosystem services in developing countries, and the capacity divide continues to be a severe obstacle to equitable participation of developing countries and those with economies under transition in the processes relevant to the science-policy interface on biodiversity, ecosystem services, and beyond., 255


405. A sample of 26 NCSA reports (out of 80 completed projects with reports accessible through the Programme’s website) was analysed for common capacity priority constraints. Because of the cross-cutting nature of natural resources, relevant needs identified under cross-cutting issues were considered, in addition to findings under the biodiversity thematic assessment. Specific objectives of NCSAs varied according to each country’s background, however most recommendations strongly supported the strengthening of existing institutional frameworks along with meeting individual capacity needs to supply needed human capacity. The results of this review are used in the following analysis. 255

Capacity for effective communication of knowledge needs 256



406. In countries with limited scientific and technical capacity, instructions on research priorities from policy makers are often ‘vague’ since they tend to leave science to scientists. There is a minimum level of environmental awareness needed on the part of policy makers to adequately formulate the need in term of scientific information for the policy processes. 256

407. Academies of Science, Science and Technology Councils and other similar institutions play vital framework and coordination roles for knowledge production, standardization and management. However these institutions lack in many developing countries; and where they exist, they largely depend not on funding from national government but often support from abroad. For example in Africa in 2001, only nine out of 53 countries had independent Science Academies. 256

408. Effective coordination of scientific and technological research has the potential to stretch often limited budgets. This is particularly essential in developing countries and economies in transition where R&D budgets as a proportion of national GDP is very small. Cooperation between researchers and institutions inside a country, including data and facilities sharing, can improve its effectiveness in knowledge production.

NCSAs highlighted the following as some of the key priorities in identifying and communicating knowledge needs: 256

Capacity for effective production of scientific knowledge relevant to policy needs 256



409. Adequate information for the science-policy interface is lacking where knowledge generation capacity is in short supply or poorly coordinated. In the absence of empirical data, one alternative is the knowledge gleaned from case studies as source of information. Often the urgency and scale of challenges at hand do not favour such an approach. 256

410. Where scientific and technological capacity is in good supply, by pursuing their endogenous interests, researchers’ combined output generate enough new knowledge out of which needed information to feed into decision-making processes can be assembled. However, in developing countries, such capacity tends to be lacking. This leads to channelling of existing capacity to more policy-specific areas of need. The resulting lower visibility and presence at the global stage has potential to affect scientific legitimacy in the science-policy processes. 256

411. In the absence of adequate scientific information, policy makers’ choice is either to rely on less relevant information, outsource such advice from abroad, or ignore the need for scientific advice in policy-making. Credibility of scientific knowledge and legitimacy of the scientific community might be compromised. Other salient priorities include: 257

Capacity for effective communication of knowledge to decision makers and the public at larger 257


412. Putting in place legal framework that gives a right to participate is not enough to generate people’s participation. Effectiveness of community participation in environmental decision-making requires an understanding of political context, suitability of the decision-making process, and community awareness of environmental issues. The lack of adequate level of awareness has double negative implication: low level of public participation to decision-making and difficulties in complying with resulting new policies. Therefore achieving good level of awareness about environmental issues among the general public is a major goal in capacity building. The following were also identified as ways of building this capacity by NCSAs: 257

Capacity for effective use of knowledge in formulating policy choices and their implementation 257


413. Rio Conventions obligations consistently call for the establishment of legal and institutional enabling frameworks at national level for their implementation. This constitutes the overall environment in which policy making processes can take place. It facilitates the mainstreaming of environmental issues into national plans and provides required resources for action. The increase in the number of ministries of environment throughout developing countries over the past three decades is herald to reflect the acceptance of environmental issues as a priority. 257

414. However a sizeable number of NCSAs reported ineffective frameworks to guide action for biodiversity and natural resources in a coherent manner. The need for inter-institutional coordination and participation mechanism was also underlined. 257

415. For regional and international policy making, negotiators from all countries are increasingly required to assimilate vast amounts of scientific information at ever increasing rates. Sufficient capacity means multidisciplinary teams that include sufficiently qualified members to access and interpret such information in light of issues on the negotiating table. Inter-disciplinary capacity also helps handling cross-cutting issues such as potential impacts of trade agreements and policies on biodiversity and natural resources more effectively. 257

416. Overall, the following were typical priorities in building capacity to effectively use existing knowledge: 258

a) build capacity at systemic level to serve as a framework for management of all the policy-making processes; 258

b) acquire capacity to combine and use environmental, social and economic information on a suitable scale for sustainability, vulnerability or adaptation studies; 258

c) enhance effectiveness of inter-institutional coordination and participation mechanism; 258

d) put in place and publicise mechanisms for community participation in decision-making on environmental issues; 258

e) strengthen institutional adaptability and ability to innovate and meet new challenges; and 258

f) build individual and institutional capacity in negotiation skills and policy formulation of processes especially at levels higher than the national level. 258

Some lessons learnt from NCSA Programme 258


417. By their “national” focus, NCSAs did not consider capacity (in data, knowledge, information) that might exist outside national borders, in countries which may be facing similar issues. Such data and knowledge could be very relevant to science-policy interface or requiring minor adjustment to be used (knowledge doesn’t have to be internally-generated for each country to be useful to its policy needs). NCSAs identified opportunities for UNDP/UNEP regional offices and other regional coordination mechanisms to facilitate data, knowledge and information sharing, capacity exchanges and synergies at regional level. 258

418. From ongoing debates on data sharing and publication, many potential benefits are anticipated to be gained from such widespread data availability. However, getting access to data only represents a first step in acquiring sound information for decision-making and implementation. Scientific and technological know-how would be needed to fully equip most NCSA countries take full advantage of such data. 258

419. Capacity building is one of major areas for bilateral, regional and multilateral co-operation. Scientific institutions in developing countries still largely rely on the generosity of international donors rather than their own national governments to meet their basic financial and manpower needed. Ultimate solution may be found in addressing the underlying causes. UNIDO singles out adequate levels of public investment in science and investment, combined with well designed and effectively implemented policies in developing world to achieve sustainable scientific capacity. 258

A.17. Invasive Alien Species 259


1. Invasive alien species are species whose introduction and/or spread beyond their natural distribution threaten biological diversity. Invasive alien species are found across taxonomic groups (animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms) and are commonly regarded as one of the top three drivers of biodiversity loss. Increased trade, travel and tourism have facilitated the movement of invasive alien species increasing their potential range and rates of introduction with significant consequences. Invasive alien species impact a range of ecosystems (e.g., forests, marine and coastal area, dry and sub-humid lands, inland waters) and sectors (e.g., environment, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, trade, transport and human health). 259


420. At the ecological level, invasive alien species can change ecosystem structures by impacting ecosystem services and species compositions. In economic terms, some experts estimate the global cost of invasive alien species at US$1.4 trillion annually. Their movement and spread are also linked to other drivers of global change, such as climate change, desertification, fire, etc. Despite their relevance across a spectrum of environmental issues, invasive alien species have been addressed at differing levels of depth within major multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), ranging from detailed discussions under the Convention on Biological Diversity to passing references under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification. 259

421. The present study will examine the extent to which invasive alien species have been addressed in MEAs and the type and level of scientific input into those discussions. The analysis will focus only on discussions, decisions and documentation specifically related to invasive alien species and not sub-items or passing references. MEAs considered include: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD); the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES); the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS); the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance; the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD); the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and the World Heritage Convention under the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Consideration will also be given to independent organizations with relevant scientific and technical expertise, and their role in providing input into MEAs. 259

422. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD): Invasive alien species are a cross-cutting issue under the CBD and are referenced in Article 8(h) of the Convention, which calls upon Parties to “prevent the introduction of, control or eradicate those alien species which threaten ecosystems, habitats or species.” The CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) has addressed the issue six times, considering eight official background documents and fifteen information documents, and producing six recommendations. The Conference of the Parties (COP) has addressed the issue five times, considering three official background documents and five information documents, and adopting five decisions. Of SBSTTA’s information documents, four explicitly state that they were written by an external expert/consultant (the actual number may be higher), and eight are inputs from technical meetings and/or organizations. For the COP, two information documents are from external expert workshops. Additionally, both SBSTTA and the COP have considered invasive alien species in other thematic areas such as forest biodiversity, marine and coastal biodiversity, inland waters, island biodiversity, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, impact assessment and protected areas. 259

a) In addition to these inputs, the CBD Secretariat has facilitated external scientific and technical input into the Convention through a range of activities including: 259

b) Creating an International Liaison Group on invasive alien species including the secretariats of relevant international agreements as well as GISP and IUCN (2008); 259

c) Convening a meeting of an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on gaps and inconsistencies in the international legal framework related to invasive alien species (2005); 259

d) Convening an invasive alien species liaison group which met in conjunction with a workshop on the Global Invasive Species Programme’s (GISP) first phase of activities (2000); 259

e) Co-convening an expert workshop on pre-screening imports of live animals in international trade with GISP, IUCN’s Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) and the University of Notre Dame (2008); 259

f) Co-convening an expert workshop on potential terrestrial and aquatic elements of a joint work programme on invasive alien species with GISP (2005); 259

g) Co-convening an expert workshop on potential marine and coastal elements of a joint work programme on invasive alien species with GISP and the UNEP Regional Seas Programme (2005); 259


h) Inviting Hal Mooney, an invasive species expert and former chair of GISP, to make a keynote address to SBSTTA4 (1999). 260

423. The liaison group of 1999 and the AHTEG were both composed of representatives nominated by Parties and a number of “observers” from non-Parties, inter-governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations. The liaison group included: 6 experts from governments and 10 experts not affiliated with a government. The AHTEG included: 14 experts nominated by Parties and 10 observers, 7 of whom were not affiliated with a government. Generally, the Party-appointed representatives were experts in their field (particularly with the AHTEG) although both groups did include individuals with a broader responsibility for the CBD and/or biodiversity within their government (i.e., the usual SBSTTA and COP delegates). 260

424. For input outside of governments, a number of SBSTTA and COP recommendations highlight and request input from GISP, particularly regarding its Global Strategy, management techniques, information resources and other expertise, as well as other expert organizations such as ISSG, DIVERSITAS and other multilateral agreements. Several of the information documents were prepared by these institutions, including a toolkit of best management practices, socioeconomic assessments of island ecosystems and inland water systems, and a guide to designing legal frameworks. Additionally, personal communication with present and former staff from GISP and ISSG indicate significant informal communication with the CBD Secretariat, particularly around the preparation of background documents and information for meetings of the COP, SBSTTA and the AHTEG. For example, in the context of COP9’s in depth review on invasive alien species, GISP solicited input from all the Parties with a particular stress on those countries where GISP members had offices, and then helped compile input and extract general trends and capacity needs. 260


425. In addition to the International Liaison Group involving other agreements, the CBD Secretariat has used joint work plans with the Ramsar Convention and the International Plant Protection Convention to identify relevant areas of collaboration on invasive alien species. A memorandum of understanding has also been signed with GISP and a draft joint work programme has been developed to guide future work. Finally, the controversy surrounding the adoption of the COP Decision VI/23 in 2002 (which was a procedural issue arising from concern over trade-related language in the Guiding Principles for the Prevention, Introduction and Mitigation of Impacts of Alien Species that Threaten Ecosystems, Habitats or Species) arguably diverted attention at subsequent COP and SBSTTA away meetings from scientific and technical issues and toward broader political debates over trade and precaution. 260

426. Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance: Ramsar bodies have discussed invasive alien species on six occasions with one official background paper and one draft resolution for COP consideration. More specifically, the Scientific and Technical Review Panel (STRP) considered the issue four times and issued four STRP Decisions on the topic (STRP8-11, 1999-2003). Ramsar COP7 (May 1999, San Jose, Costa Rica) considered a background paper and keynote address presented by Dr. Geoffrey Howard with IUCN and affiliated with GISP. Decision VII/14 directed the STRP to consider the need for guidelines specific to wetlands in view of ongoing by the CBD (e.g., the Guiding Principles) and GISP. STRP8 then established a Working Group on Invasive Species to: comment on guidance being developed by IUCN and the CBD’s SBSTTA; determine the sufficiency of such guidance for the Ramsar Convention and contribute to its development where appropriate; and provide input on risk assessment approaches. 260


427. Ramsar COP8 (November 2002, Valencia, Spain) considered a draft resolution (finalized as Decision VIII/18) but at the recommendation of the Standing Committee did not review the CBD’s Guiding Principles as well as a draft guide on invasive alien species and wetlands prepared by Dr. Howard and approved by STRP10 (June 2001, Gland, Switzerland). The political controversy surrounding the adoption of Decision VI/23 and the Guiding Principles at CBD COP6 (April 2002, The Hague, Netherlands) consequently extended into the Ramsar Convention. Continued concern in the Standing Committee by a number of Parties involved in the CBD debates led to the removal of the draft guide and the CBD’s Guiding Principles from consideration by Ramsar COP8. 260

428. The STRP’s Working Group on Invasive Species was open to input and participation by outside experts including those from IUCN, GISP as well as the CBD Secretariat. The Working Group also developed formal inputs for consideration by the CBD SBSTTA and COP in negotiating the Guiding Principles (a formal presentation was delivered by the Ramsar Secretariat to CBD SBSTTA6 on behalf of the STRP). Ramsar and the CBD developed a joint work plan which was approved initially in 1998 and has included a number of subsequent updates. The Work Plan has included alien species as a cross-cutting element, and has included the work of expert groups like GISP and IUCN. Invasive alien species have also been referenced in Ramsar documentation and discussions around: application of the ecosystem approach; environmental impact and risk assessments; and national management of wetland sites. 260

429. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES): The CITES process has considered invasive alien species on four occasions involving one background document and one revised resolution. COP13 (Bangkok, Thailand, October 2004) passed Resolution 13.10, which inter alia called for exploration of synergies with the CBD and instructed the CITES Secretariat, in conjunction with the Animals and Plants Committees, to establish cooperation with the CBD Secretariat and the ISSG. The CITES Plants and Animals Committees then considered the issue in two joint sessions (Geneva, Switzerland, May 2005; Lima, Peru, July 2006). For the Committee meetings in 2005, no background document was prepared although specific recommendations were made on listing potentially invasive CITES species and identifying possibilities for contributing to the implementation of the CBD’s Guiding Principles (outlined in a background document prepared by the CITES Secretariat for the 2006 meetings of the Plants and Animals Committees). ISSG provided input particularly with regard to further exploration of linkages under CBD Decision VIII/27. However the Plants and Animals Committees eventually agreed that the issue was not a major priority for future discussion and that the CBD Secretariat could provide relevant updates in the future. The provision in Resolution 13.10 calling for cooperation with ISSG was thereby removed in a revision of the Resolution at COP14 (The Hague, Netherlands, June 2007). While acknowledging the limited capacity of convention secretariats, this is one instance where Parties took the decision to remove a direct channel for scientific and technical input into the CITES process. 261


430. Convention on Migratory Species (CMS): Within the CMS, invasive alien species are listed as one of the primary threats and challenges, and the issue was included as a sub-agenda item at the 14th meeting of the Scientific Council. Although discussion was limited and there was no dedicated background document, the meeting highlighted a study reviewing the impact of invasive alien species on migratory species. This study is reportedly still underway and will be provided for future consideration by the Scientific Council. Invasive alien species are sometimes peripherally associated with the issue of avian influenza, although significant debate ranges within the scientific community over the extent to which avian influenza can be considered invasive especially if conveyed through natural migration. In this area, the CMS and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization have convened a Scientific Task Force on Avian Influenza and Wild Birds and have been involved in two technical workshops focusing on the topic). The work of the task force has been considered by the Scientific Council and also incorporated into COP Resolution 9.8 (although there is no direct reference to invasive alien species). More specific references to invasive alien species have arisen in discussions and materials on: threats to specific migratory species; capacity building efforts; climate change impacts; and particular action plans and memoranda of understanding. 261

431. Other Multilateral Environmental Agreements: The UNCCD, the UNFCCC and the World Heritage Convention have taken no formal decisions on the topic of invasive alien species. Under the UNCCD, reference to the issue has arisen in: assessments of land degradation provided to the COP and the Committee on Science and Technology; linkages to the work of the CBD and its work programme on dry and sub-humid lands; and regional and national reports and action plans. 261


432. Under the UNFCCC, reference to the issue has arisen in: documents and supporting materials provided to the COP and Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice on topics of adaptation and land use, land-use change and forestry; national adaptation programmes of action to climate change; and linkages to the CBD on climate and biodiversity issues, particularly adaptation. 261

433. Within the World Heritage Convention, reference to the issue has arisen in: documentation and decisions relating to the “State of Conservation” and management recommendations for specific World Heritage sites; and discussions on the impacts of climate change on World Heritage sites. 261

434. Supporting Institutions: A number of independent organizations have provided input into MEA discussions on invasive alien species, including the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), IUCN (Secretariat), IUCN’s Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), DIVERSITAS, the Global Invasive Species Information Network (GISIN) and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). Within the CBD process, GISP has played a major role as it was basically conceived at the Norway/U.N. Conference on Alien Species (July 1996, Trondheim, Norway), which was designed to focus the CBD’s attention on the issue. GISP was initially organized under the auspices of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), IUCN and CABI, in association with DIVERSITAS. 261

435. The initial concept of GISP was to gather the best minds (and later the best organizations) working on the issue of invasive alien species at the global level. The first phase of GISP was designed to consolidate available scientific and management information to raise awareness of the issue and to present best management practices. Through the use of thematic working groups GISP focused on key issues such as pathways, management, socioeconomics, etc., while simultaneously engaging national agencies and experts through a series of regional workshops. This model helped to funnel information developed by the international working groups down to the national level, while raising national level priorities and capacity needs to the global level. Information from both efforts was also channelled into the CBD. 262


436. As GISP and international discussions matured, the focus turned more to implementation and ensuring that science was informing the development of policy tools. With a slate of priorities defined in CBD decisions, GISP has facilitated dialogue with scientific and technical experts to most appropriately direct their input into guidance for Convention bodies as well as for national implementers. Recent examples include, cooperation with DIVERSITAS around COP9; work with the CBD Secretariat, ISSG and the University of Notre Dame around pre-screening animals in international trade; support to the government of New Zealand on regional island coordination and invasive alien species; and development of training courses with World Bank funding on national legal frameworks and economic assessments. By virtue of its global position and wide range of contacts, GISP has been most effective when serving as a facilitator to manage and package existing information and expertise 262

437. On a more direct level, GISP has also regularly participated at advisory group, SBSTTA and COP meetings. This longstanding involvement with the CBD, provides an understanding of the process and context by which GISP can convey information to the CBD Secretariat (informally and as information papers) as well as directly to Parties. Side events and distribution of other publications at relevant meetings are another mode of input. In many cases, the government representatives that GISP engaged at the country level later served on national delegations within CBD discussions on invasive alien species. Arguably, GISP’s “success” is largely due to its longstanding role in collating and providing information, as few others would serve this role in its absence. It should also be noted that GISP’s particularly niche has been the CBD, although it has engaged members and partners working in other forums (e.g., the International Plant Protection Convention, the International Maritime Organization and the Ramsar Convention). 262


438. IUCN and IUCN’s ISSG have also played complementary roles through: development of technical materials such as the IUCN Guidelines for the Prevention of Biodiversity Loss due to Biological Invasion; provision of advice and background information to the CBD, CITES and the Ramsar Convention; creation of information exchange and database tools; a repository for data on particular invasive species and their management; and participation in meetings. A final reference should be made to the Pet Industry Advisory Committee (PIJAC), which has also been active in providing scientific and technical advice from the perspective of the private sector. PIJAC was involved in the negotiation of the CBD’s Guiding Principles and has been developing input and management tools on the pre-screening of live animal species in international trade. 262

439. Analysis and Lessons Learned: Among those MEAs that have directly addressed the issue of invasive alien species, the CBD has taken the lead in the number of decisions and amount of substantive guidance that it has delivered. The CBD has also developed mechanisms to collaborate with other MEAs including through an International Liaison Group, joint work plans and informal communications between Secretariats. These relationships have helped other MEAs streamline their work, as witnessed by recommendations of the Ramsar Convention’s STRP to assess how existing guidance from the CBD, IUCN and GISP can be adapted to the wetlands context, as well as by the decision within CITES to leave the bulk of substantive work on the topic to the CBD. Thus, input that expert groups like GISP, IUCN and ISSG have had into the CBD process through the development of technical information fed into CBD recommendations and decisions has been disseminated to other MEAs. It should also be recognized that bodies like the CBD’s liaison group and AHTEG, and Ramsar Convention’s Working Group on Invasive Species, which incorporate experts from Parties, have provided scientific input into the broader Convention bodies. 262


440. Key lessons learned include: 263

a) Use of specialized groups within the CBD and Ramsar have provided a means for input by national experts appointed by Parties, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental experts; 263

b) MEAs, particularly the CBD, the Ramsar Convention and CITES, have welcomed and benefited from the input of external scientific experts and organizations; 263

c) Use of specialized groups and external experts roughly correlates with the production of more information documents and formal background documents; 263

d) Input by specialized groups has generally been guided by priorities identified by convention processes, thereby reflecting an interest in furthering implementation; and 263

e) The efficacy of that advice largely depends on frameworks within or across conventions that clearly delineate how they can be applied at the international, regional and/or national level (e.g., input into guiding principles, guidelines or standards vs. issue specific tools/methodologies). 263

A.18. National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans 264

Introduction to National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans 264


1. Article 6 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) requests Parties to develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity or adapt for this purpose existing strategies, plans or programmes which shall reflect, inter alia, the measures set out in this Convention relevant to the Contracting Party concerned. In accordance with this, the Conference of the Parties (COP), in decision III/9, reaffirmed the great importance of the development and implementation by all Parties of national strategies, plans and programmes in accordance with Article 6 of the Convention and produced specific guidance to Parties for developing and implementing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) (decisions II/7, III/9, IX/8, among others). 264


441. Through decision VI/26, the COP adopted the Strategic Plan of the Convention. The Plan contains goal 3: National biodiversity strategies and action plans and the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectors serve as an effective framework for the implementation of the Convention. Two objectives relevant to NBSAPs accompany the goal: 3.1: Every party has effective national stragies, plans and programmes in place to provide a national framework for implementing the three objectives of the Convention and to set clear national priorities; 3.4: The priorities in national biodiversity strategies and action plans are being actively implemented, as a means to achieve national implementation of the Covention, and as a significant contribution towards the global biodiversity agenda. Clearly, NBSAPs have been recognised as a key mechanism for implementing the CBD. 264

442. As of July 2009, 166 of the 191 Parties to the CBD have developed NBSAPs. A detailed review of NBSAPs has been undertaken by the second meeting of the Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI 2) in 2007. Since January 2008, the CBD Secretariat has undertaken 12 regional and subregional capacity development workshops on implementing NBSAPs and mainstreaming biodiversity, in 11 regions and subregions. 264

443. A number of documents have been providing guidance to the development of NBSAPs. Miller & Lanou (1995) presented models for national biodiversity planning. Regarding the science-policy interface, they noted a number of scientific obstacles from the review of early experiences of national biodiversity planning: lack of research on biodiversity’s role in ecosystems; lack of sufficient scientific and economic data; lack of trained biosystematists; lack of information-management capacity; and duplication of scientific efforts. Among the institutional obstacles identified was the lack of communication between the scientific community and policy-makers. The authors suggest an illustrative biodiversity planning process that includes representatives of academic and research institutions. Those would play a major role at various stages of the development process for the national biodiversity strategy, including, among others, biodiversity assessment (inventory of biodiversity; valuation of biodiversity) and the setting of objectives and targets for the components of biodiversity. 264


444. Prescott et al (2000) developed a biodiversity planning matrix, which includes 15 topics that the planning process would need to consider. They suggest specific scientific input for the theme of conservation of natural resources, which could be envisaged to support the identification of pressures and impacts, setting objectives or directions and develop indicators. 264

445. Based on the Argentinean experience, Fernández (1998) provided guidance for national-level biodiversity action plans. He includes authorities that establish policies in the field of science in the list of institutions that may be invited to participate in the biodiversity planning process. As an example of actions under an action plan, the author mentions scientific research programmes run by the State or universities, which incorporate new priorities related to the Biodiversity Convention. Academics are named as participants for national workshops that elaborate a draft biodiversity action plan. 264

446. None of these guidance documents for NBSAP development lend a strong role to scientists and academia. Other stakeholders, such as government agencies, indigenous groups, business and NGOs, play a more prominent role. Accordingly, basing the NBSAP on scientific evidence does not feature in these guidance documents. 265

447. In decision IX/8, the COP provided further guidance to Parties on developing, implementing and revising their NBSAPs. The COP stressed, among others, the need to take into account the ecosystem approach; to highlight the contribution of biodiversity to poverty eradication, national development and human well-being; and to identify the main threats to biodiversity. It asked to identify relevant stakeholders from all major groups for each of the actions of the NBSAPs and to strengthen the contribution of the scientific community in order to improve the science/policy interface to support research-based advice on biodiversity. 265

Stakeholders and organizations involved relevant for the science-policy interface 265


448. The synthesis and analysis of obstacles to implementation of NBSAPS: Lessons learned from the review, effectiveness of policy instruments and strategic priorities for action, presented at the second meeting of the Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity (WGRI-2), identified the lack of effective partnerships as a high or medium-level obstacle to the implementation of the Convention (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/2/Add.1). The review named insufficient stakeholder involvement as a lesson to be learned from the experience with NBSAPs and marked a mechanism to facilitate continued consultation with all stakeholders including, among others, academia, as priority action at the national level. 265

449. CBD document UNEP/CBD/COP/9/14/Rev.1 reviewed the implementation of the Convention and its Strategic Plan and made specific reference to implementation of the NBSAP-related goals of the Strategic Plan. It found that stakeholder consultations have been a major part of NBSAP preparation, However, the range of stakeholders involved is often not adequate to ensure effective ownership of NBSAPs or to ensure mainstreaming of biodiversity beyond the environment community. It was also found that effective communication programmes are lacking from many NBSAPs. On the other hand, the above-mentioned regional and sub-regional NBSAP workshops revealed that the need for wide stakeholder participation in the development and implementation of NBSAPs is widely understood. 265

450. It is beyond the scope of this case study to review the available NBSAPs for the level of participation of stakeholders such as academia and the scientific community. It is assumed that the lack of adequate involvement of stakeholders in the development of NBSAPs extends to the scientific community. This assumption is further confirmed by further weaknesses as reviewed below. 265

Lack of scientific input to NBSAP development and implementation 265


451. UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/2/Add.1 found for least developed countries a lack of scientific research capacities, together with the loss of traditional knowledge and the underutilisation of existing scientific and traditional knowledge, as challenges to implementing the CBD. The document states specifically that NBSAPs frequently suffer from a lack of knowledge and understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including a lack of awareness of the economic value of biodiversity, and a lack of application of the ecosystem approach. Emerton (2001) identified insufficient involvement of economists as one of the challenges and constraints to using economic tools and measures in NBSAPs. 265

452. All these findings confirm that NBSAPs have suffered from insufficient scientific input, with an impact on the quality with which issues have been addressed in many NBSAPs. This refers to some key aspects of implementation of the CBD, such as the ecosystem approach and the economic valuation of biodiversity. Both issues have increasingly been recognised as key elements for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, and the deficiencies recognised for NBSAPs mirror general challenges to the implementation of the Convention (see UNEP/CBD/WGRI/2/INF/1/Add.1 and UNEP/CBD/COP/9/14/Rev.1). 265

Lessons learned and needs for the science-policy interface in development and implementation of NBSAPs 266


453. The reviews of experiences on the science-policy interface in the process of development and implementation of NBSAPs, as undertaken by the documents and workshops mentioned above, have drawn a number of lessons relevant for the science-policy interface in the development and implementation of NBSAPs. 266

a) Stronger involvement of science in the development of NBSAPs: The reviews stated that scientists should be invited from the early stages of NBSAP development to contribute to the development of the Strategy, in particular in the following areas: the ecosystem approach; understanding the role of biodiversity in supporting human well-being and contributing to sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty; and economic valuation of biodiversity. It can be concluded that scientists should participate in developing monitoring schemes for the implementation and effectiveness of NBSAPs as well as in their review. 266

b) Strengthen the knowledge base for the scientific evidence for NBSAPs: The Regional Capacity Development Workshop for Europe on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and Mainstreaming of Biodiversity, held in 2008 in Germany, recommended developing the evidence base for NBSAPs to strengthen data collection and management, to develop indicators to track the status of biodiversity and ecosystem services and publicise the results, and to use independent scientific review of NBSAP implementation. The review of NBSAPs by the Working Group on Review of Implementation recommended strengthening national Clearing-House Mechanisms to promote scientific and technical cooperation with other Parties, and lending the CBD Clearing-House Mechanism a role in promoting exchange of experiences and lessons learned among countries (UNEP/CBD/WG-RI/2/2/Add.1). 266

c) Reinforce communication efforts: The need for improved communication of the NBSAPs, including the process of its development and review, to a range of stakeholders has been stressed. The stakeholders would include the scientific community in order to give them a better sense of ownership of the NBSAP and to secure their contribution. Communication, it was stated, should be strategic, evidence-based and target-group oriented and communication plans should be concrete and include short and long-term goals. 266

A.19. The example of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) 267


1. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is currently developing a mechanism for reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation in developing countries (REDD) for inclusion in the next climate agreement in 2012. This case study focuses on the science-policy interface of biodiversity, ecosystem services and REDD. 267

454. Although REDD is clearly connected to biodiversity issues, it has been developed first and foremost as an emissions reduction mechanism under the UNFCCC. There are two main ways in which biodiversity and ecosystem services are relevant to the REDD debate: 267

a) REDD is a mechanism that deals specifically with the ecosystem service of climate regulation, and aims to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by reducing deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. 267

b) Although REDD is designed primarily as mechanism for climate change mitigation, there are significant biodiversity and ecosystem benefits (‘co-benefits’) that can be gained through reducing deforestation. There may also be some risks to biodiversity conservation arising from REDD. 267

455. The science-policy interface for these two aspects of REDD and biodiversity/ecosystem services will be considered separately, whilst recognising that there is some level of overlap between the two. 267

The climate regulatory role of biodiversity (forest) 267


456. The UNFCCC has a well established reputation for the use of science in the development of climate policy. This science is delivered by the IPCC, which has established itself as the authoritative source for climate change related information, and periodically provides this information through a Summary for Policymakers and a full report. The strength of the IPCC at the science-policy interface is its credibility and relevance, although criticisms have been levelled over the inability of the process to provide updated information at intervals shorter than a 5-6 year time period. 267


457. The IPCC has played a significant role in the development of REDD, which was first proposed as an agenda item under the UNFCCC by Papua New Guinea in 2005, following information reported in the 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR). The case for such a mechanism gained credibility under the UNFCCC when the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC 4AR) again highlighted forest loss as a large source of greenhouse gas emissions, and reduction of those emissions as a cost-effective mitigation option. This contributed to the inclusion of REDD in the Bali Action Plan at COP 13 in December 2007. Since then, there has been a proliferation of policy relevant research in this field, and the REDD debate has been informed by processes outside of the IPCC, such as through reports commissioned by National Governments, environmental organisations, and the UNFCCC. 267

458. COP 13 mandated the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) to discuss approaches to stimulate action for REDD, and to provide methodological guidance. Some aspects of REDD, such as Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) of emissions, and the establishment of Reference Levels (RLs) against which to measure emissions reductions, require significant scientific input. The preference of SBSTA to base its conclusions on scientific evidence have been made clear through the following actions: 267

a) a workshop has been convened to discuss MRV at the request of the COP; 267

b) an expert meeting has been convened on RLs at the explicit request of SBSTA; 267

c) input from groups/expert meetings outside the UNFCCC process has been welcomed; 267

d) the debate on REDD has been influenced by this scientific input; and 267

e) the use of IPCC guidance and guidelines is recommended. 267

FCCC/SBSTA/2009/L.9 267


459. In turn, the scientific community has organised meetings and provided SBSTA with information on specific, identified topics such as the availability and accuracy of remote sensing techniques for biomass monitoring. 268

460. However, REDD is still under negotiation, and as a negotiated mechanism, much depends upon political feasibility. Although the UNFCCC makes good use of scientific information, the outcomes do not always reflect this science due to the number of other factors that must be taken into consideration. The extent to which scientific information on issues such as MRV and RLs feeds through the negotiating process is likely to go some way towards determining the success of the mechanism. This requires the scientific community to continue to feed clear messages into the policy process, while remaining aware of the political implications of these messages; and for policy makers to remain receptive to scientific input. 268

REDD and ‘co-benefits’ 268



461. The opportunities for (and risks to) biodiversity and ecosystem services from REDD have not received so much attention. The implementation of REDD, by maintaining biodiversity-rich tropical forests, should have significant biodiversity and ecosystem service benefits. There may also be some risks; for example, a successful REDD mechanism may lead to increased conversion pressures on low-carbon forests and non-forest ecosystems, with consequent threats to the biodiversity of those systems. 268

Miles,L., Kapos,V. 2008. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and forest degradation: Global land use implications. Science 320, 1454-1455. 268


462. The link between science and policy is not as strong in this case for a number of reasons: 268

a) Even though policy makers might be aware of the issues surrounding REDD and biodiversity, many question the relevance and legitimacy for discussion or inclusion under the UNFCCC, which deals specifically with climate change issues 268

b) Scientists and environmental organisations have for the most part been feeding biodiversity information into the REDD discussions on an ad hoc basis, with different messages coming from different organisations, which has an impact on the credibility of the information. Clear messages have only been put forward relatively late in proceedings 268

c) Scientific understanding of the relationship between carbon, biodiversity, and ecosystem services is not well developed. 268


463. However, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group (AHTEG) on Biodiversity and Climate Change has recently been providing the UNFCCC with guidance on the linkages between biodiversity and climate change by reviewing the recent science on this topic (including REDD related information). 268

464. The CBD AHTEG has promoted a dialogue between scientists and policy makers, and produced a coordinated message from a number of different actors. For example, the AHTEG established that careful consideration is required over the rules and definitions regarding plantation forest and natural forest to ensure that REDD does not create perverse incentives to replace natural forests with plantations. The AHTEG has emphasised that this would not only be bad for biodiversity, but that it could also reduce the mitigation capacity of forests, in part by reducing their resilience to climate impacts. The eventual impact of the work of the AHTEG is not yet known, as its work is still ongoing. Nevertheless, text recognising the importance of promoting co-benefits from REDD, including biodiversity, has been put forward to UNFCCC COP 15 as draft text for a decision. 268

FCCC/SBSTA/2009/L.9 268


465. The main purpose of the CBD AHTEG is to feed into the UNFCCC process, but it should be emphasised that there is also scope for science to influence policy at the national scale. REDD will have to be implemented at the national scale, albeit within an international framework. Countries may therefore choose to incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem service considerations into REDD strategies if they have the relevant information available. This suggests that the scale at which science can best influence policy needs to be carefully assessed, and an appropriate audience targeted. 268

Conclusions 268


466. As REDD is an ongoing process, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions on the strengths and weaknesses of the science-policy interface. However, some observations can be made. With regard to the climate regulatory role of biodiversity, there has been a large degree of interaction between scientists and policy makers, to the extent that scientists have engaged in policy relevant research, and have had some success in feeding this into the formulation of the REDD mechanism. In terms of biodiversity as a ‘co-benefit’ of REDD, the science has been less influential. Many REDD policy makers question the relevance of biodiversity information, and scientists have put conflicting messages across on an ad hoc basis. However, the CBD AHTEG has highlighted the importance of developing a coherent approach for bringing clear and relevant messages to discussions from a legitimate source. The extent to which the science is reflected in the final negotiated REDD agreement remains to be seen. 268

A.20. Fisheries Management and Biodiversity 270



1. Fisheries are the largest source of anthropogenic impacts on the marine environment. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s most recent assessment tells us that fisheries annually generate 85 billion dollars, employ 200 million people and supply at least 15 percent of the animal protein used for human consumption. They also point out that 28% of fish stocks are currently overexploited or collapsed, while 52% are fully exploited. 270

FAO 2009. The State of the Worlds Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008. Rome: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 270


467. Fisheries threaten biodiversity in a number of ways. Biological extinction from directed fishing pressure is rare because fishing becomes unprofitable before biological extinction is threatened, but depleted species may easily be caught by fisheries directed at other species. Overfishing increases vulnerability to extinction from other sources, such as habitat destruction. Bycatch of untargeted species is a global problem. Beyond non-target fish species, interest in bycatch has focussed mainly on marine mammals, but problems exist with seabirds and benthic organisms as well. Fishing changes both trophic relationships and the genetic make-up of populations. Fisheries also generate impacts on marine habitats; especially bottom trawl nets remove physical features, and reduce the complexity of structures that maintain biodiversity. 270

ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) 2006a. Report of Working Group for Regional Ecosystem Description (WGRED), 30 January-3 February 2006, ICES Headquarters. ACE:03. 129 pp. 270

Payne, A. 2001 Documentation of the Scientific Literature Pertaining to Environmental Issues Arising from the Implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy. In: The European Commission Studies and Support Services Related to the Common Fisheries Policy: Dissemination of the Results of Biological Studies. Lymington, Hampshire, UK: MacAlister Elliott and Partners Ltd. 270

ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) 2006b. Report of the Working Group on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing Activities (WGECO), 5-12 April 2006 , ICES Headquarters, Copenhagen. ACE:05. 174 pp 270

ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) 2000. Report of the Working Group on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing Activities (WGECO). ICES CM 2000/ACME 270


468. Fish stocks are a common pool resource, meaning a resource from which it is costly to exclude users. When such resources are valuable and there is open access, users have no incentive to conserve since the fruits of such conservation can simply be taken by another user. This is the main reason the global fleet is far larger than what is needed for sustainable fishing. To protect both economic value and environmental integrity, access to the resource must be controlled. This is most effectively done by a combination of access rights for individuals or groups, a set of technical restrictions on when, where and how to fish, and monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. Management functions are nearly always the responsibility of government acting on behalf of the public who are the final owners of the resource. However, hard experience has shown that the complexity of fisheries makes effective “top down” management nearly impossible. Extensive stakeholder participation, particularly by the fishing industry and environmental advocates, has played an important role nearly every time fisheries management has worked well. 270

Scott, A. 1955 "The Fishery: the Objectives of Sole Ownership" Journal of Political Economy 63:116-124 270

Wilson, D.C. J.R. Nielsen and P. Degnbol (Eds.), 2003. The Fisheries Co-management Experience: Accomplishments, Challenges and Prospects. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. Pp. 193-209. 270

The Science/Policy Institutions of the Common Fisheries Policy 270


469. Scientific input is a critical factor in fisheries management and the way this is handled in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union is particularly illuminating. In spite of arguably having the largest, best financed, and best trained fisheries science cadre on the planet, the EU has one of the weakest sustainability records. In 2002, scientific advisory work for the CFP cost 78 million Euros and 4500 person days were spent by scientist in related international meetings. The European Commission itself describes the result: “88% of Community stocks are being fished beyond Maximum Sustainable Yield ... 30% of these stocks are outside safe biological limits ... European fisheries today depend on young and small fish that mostly get caught before they can reproduce”. 270

EASE 2007 Final Report of the European Advisory System Evaluation Project (EASE). EU Fifth Framework Programme No Q5CA-2002-01693. 270


470. Only two parts of the science/policy interface of the CFP actually touch the sea: the fishing and research survey vessels. Both of these feed data into the National Fisheries Institutes (NFIs), the fisheries laboratories operated by EU Member States. Survey vessels gather data through scientific protocols while fishing fleets do so through mandated data collection procedures outlined by the EU’s Data Collection Regulation. 271

471. The fisheries advice system moves up to the European level when the NFIs supply their scientists, along with their data, to the expert groups of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). This is a multi-lateral organization with 20 member countries. At ICES expert groups assess stocks; these assessments are passed on to review groups, and then to groups that draft advice based on the assessments. The advice becomes official ICES advice when approved by the Advisory Committee, on which all ICES member countries sit. 271

472. ICES gives this official advice to the European Commission where the central actor is the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE). Fisheries advisors do not receive the advice directly; rather it passes through the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). The critical difference between STECF and ICES is that STECF operates under DG MARE’s direct control. However, ICES and STECF scientists are mainly the same people. Because of this redundancy, and a desire for increased saliency of advice, some at DG MARE have argued that resources should be shifted from ICES to STECF. However, the EU negotiates the sharing of many important fish stocks with Norway, Russia, and Iceland and these negotiations required an independent source of fisheries advice. This reality secures ICES’ role. 271

Wilson, D.C. 2009 The Paradoxes of Transparency: Science and the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in Europe. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press 271


473. When the advice generation process is over, DG MARE makes proposals on the fisheries legislation for the coming year to the Council of Ministers. The Council makes the final decisions, but they must be based on a Commission proposal. Once these negotiations start, the role of scientific advice is formally ended. 271

Weaknesses and Gaps in the CFP Science/Policy Interface 271



474. An underlying weakness is that the CFP, and hence its science/policy interface, is primarily designed to divide single species fish stocks among Member States. Not only does this mean that conservation takes second place, by design if not stated intent, the single-species focus also impedes ecosystem considerations, including more realistic approaches to biodiversity. 271

475. The problem of dividing the fish has also led to the heavy use of quota-based management, i.e. controlling how many fish can be taken, rather than effort-based management, i.e. controlling how much time people can fish. Quota management is both more politically expedient and economically efficient because quotas are easy to measure, and hence to divide among Member States or trade among fishers. The science/policy problem is that quota management not only requires the prediction of how many fish can be caught in the coming year, it tends to bias the information used in these calculations by increasing incentives for discarding and illegal landings. If the amount of fishing you can do is limited, then you catch as many fish as you can in the time you are given. But if the amount of fish you can catch is limited, then you are more likely to throw away a less valuable fish, which is taking up both space and quota, when you later catch a more valuable one. When fishers catch a mix of species at the same time, as is often the case in Europe, quota management is particularly difficult. Effort management can be based on observing trends in catch rather than forecasting future amounts of fish, and incentives for behaviours that bias data are weaker. It is also better for controlling impacts on many stocks in a mixed fishery. However, fishing effort is much harder to measure when trying to distribute rights to fish – indeed, the fish catch in a given time frame constantly increases as technology improves. In the CFP discarding of fish at sea and illegal landings have been a large problem. Gathering data on these discards is very sensitive. Fishers are perfectly willing to discuss the issue privately, but they are very careful about public admissions. This situation has improved with strengthened EU-level oversight and funds for monitoring, but the underlying incentive problem is still very much in place. 271


476. Scientific uncertainty in this system is very high. In addition to data gathering problems such as discards and illegal landings, uncertainty is found in the number of fish that die from fishing as opposed to other factors, estimates of fish ages and their weight at particular ages, and the relationship between the number of fish in a stock in one year and the number of fish that will be added in the next year. These factors are all more or less uncertain, depending on the species. Uncertainty also increases as the condition of stocks deteriorates. The population dynamics of stocks at historically low levels are just not well understood. 271

477. Scientists trying to communicate these uncertainties surround their numerical tables with extensive qualitative caveats. But DG MARE wants clarity in their advice, usually in the form of a number on a table. They have asked for scientific advice that is not open to interpretation, but which allows flexible options for policy goals. If simultaneous clarity and flexibility is the goal, complex models giving point estimates surrounded by pages of caveats seems a poor way to attain it. These predictive models and point estimates, however, provide the forecasts needed for quota distributions. 271

Wilson, D.C., Delaney, A.E. 2005. Scientific Knowledge and Participation in the Management of Fisheries in the North Sea. In Gray, T.S. (Ed) Participation in Fisheries Governance. Springer. 272


478. In a large, tightly coupled science/policy system like the CFP, saliency can receive greater priority than either legitimacy or credibility. A scientist working at DG MARE said: “you have to say so many days for a hundred different fleets, you have to come up with a number for the next regulation, you just need that number to come from somewhere, and as long as it is on the best possible technical basis you could just consider it to be engineering rather than science, and it may be perfectly valid without having all these features that you would need to have legitimate and credible science”. Pressures to “inflate the science boundary” emerge from asking scientists to come produce “findings” about issues that are as much moral and practical as they are scientific. 272


479. These problems have led to a generally negative view of science among the fishing public. Questions about the legitimacy of EU fisheries management target science more often than is the case in, for example, Norway. The fisheries scientists serving the CFP are frustrated and even demoralized. Many feel that what they are being asked to do is not “science”. They look for ways to resist the inflation of the science boundary. In a survey of fisheries scientists around the North Sea, 16% reported that “sometimes” and 60% reported that “often or very often” they felt ”asked to create certainty that is not really there”. Furthermore, 14% reported that “sometimes” and 56% reported that “often or very often” they felt “asked to answer impossible questions”. One scientist was heard pleading to his expert group: “We should stop pretending that we know how many fish there are”. 272

Schwach, V., et al. 2007. Policy and knowledge in fisheries management: a policy brief. ICES Journal of Marine Science 64(4): 798-803 272



480. When DG MARE sends its proposals to the Council of Ministers the formal role of science suddenly ends. DG MARE is required to consider the best science when making its proposals; the Council is not so required. This leads to an interesting paradox, the initial Commission proposals must be backed by science, but the eventual compromise between the Commission and the Council does not have to be validated by any principle of governance, including scientific justification. 272

481. The Council’s decisions have been “moderately responsive to ICES advice” according to Patterson and Résimont’s (2007, p. 716) analysis of 436 records of advice and policy result for fish stocks between 1987 and 2005. This study found that policy moves in the direction of the advice, but not as far as it recommends. This pattern is similar to that found in other science/policy domains. 272

Clark, W.C., et al. 2006. Evaluating the Influence of Global Environmental Assessments. In: Mitchell, R.B. et al. (Eds.), Global Environmental Assessments: Information and Influence. MIT Press. 272

Strengths in the Science/Policy Interface of the CFP 272


482. The strengths of the CFP are not seen in its results, but rather in broad efforts at reform that involve a breaking down of barriers between scientists, policy-makers and stakeholders in a search for solutions. Scientists in Europe have become tired of failure. Starting a decade ago, ICES began asking social scientists to contribute to a broad and ongoing analysis of what has gone wrong. Much of what you have read here results from that decision. 272

483. ICES scientists have become more directly involved with stakeholders. A minor division has emerged between the ICES scientists who are deeply involved in the advice system and the larger group that is peripheral to it, or rather was peripheral until demands for ecosystem advice began to increase. Many advisory scientists have abandoned the “white coated expert” style and become more comfortable working within an extended peer community. 272

Ravetz, J.R. 1999. What is Post-Normal Science? Futures 31:647-653. 272



484. Several different kinds of joint activities have emerged. The most popular has been collaborative research with the fishing industry. This has led to improved data collection, as well as new assessments of stocks using both local and scientific knowledge. Another emerging boundary object is participatory modelling, using scenarios to evaluate management options along with stakeholders. The emphasis here is on using scenarios as a way to examine the meaning of uncertainty. 272

Hegland, T. J., Wilson, D.C. 2009. Participatory Modelling in EU Fisheries Management. in press 272


485. The Regional Advisory Councils (RAC) stakeholder fora were set up in 2002 as a small step away from top-down management. They do not have budgets for their own scientific advice; currently DG MARE seems to want them to express general opinions about policy questions based on their impressions. CFP reform will require true stakeholder involvement, and the RACs are determined to develop detailed and effective management plans that can have an impact. Some ICES scientists have found ways to support the RACs in these endeavours. 273


486. Finally, the CFP is moving away from the emphasis on individual fish stocks as the new EU Marine Directive comes into force. Europe is now committed to an ecosystem approach. Developing the science for this has become an important effort within ICES. The top-down decision-making structures of the CFP, however, have a long way to go before they can begin to address an ecosystem approach. 273

Lessons Learned 273


487. Lessons that emerge from this science/policy interface case include: 273

a) Policy objectives should be set in ways that take into account the science/policy interface. The overreliance on forms of management that solve political problems, but perform poorly from a knowledge development perspective, has been damaging. 273

b) It helps to place uncertainty in its various forms at the centre of the discussion rather than as an afterthought expressed as an error term surrounded by caveats. Moving away from reliance on forecasts toward more humble scenario-based modelling, particularly using participatory modelling is one important tool for doing this. 273

c) Scientists resist when they do not approve of how their knowledge is being used. Such resistance in this case included a willingness to move away from the role of objective experts who provide facts for bureaucrats to make decisions about to a much more interactive style. This style might be characterized as a sort of “scientific counselling” for stakeholders and policy-makers. Such activities strengthen and enrich the science/policy interface and help make the boundary between science and non-science clearer. They help reduce the inflation of the science boundary. Many ICES scientists from the advisory service, if not as much from other parts of ICES have supported and embodied these changes in style. 273

d) The question of in-house versus independent sources of scientific advice is not as central as is often argued. In this case, ICES is formally entirely independent of the Commission, while the legitimacy crisis in fisheries is particularly focussed on science. What seems really important in respect to saliency is the ease of communication between policy-makers and scientists, and, in respect to legitimacy, the perceptions of independence is more important than the legal relationship. 273

A.21. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations 274







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