Position paper on
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
New Strategic Plan (Post 2010 Target)
for the future of life on earth……
Making a “Step Change” on every policy and effort
towards “living in harmony with nature”
The Nature Conservation Society of Japan (NACS-J) has been devoting itself to nature conservation in Japan for 60 years. This paper is a revision of the “NACS-J Position Paper on Post 2010 Target” published in October 2009 for the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD-COP10). The revision was made with special focus on the primary agenda, “New Strategic Plan (Post 2010 Target)”.
The third edition of Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO3) concludes that the 2010 target has not been met, and also suggests that activities in the next decade will have a great influence on the future of the next generation. This paper advocates the imminent need of vitalization of efforts on biodiversity by national governments, the private sector, educational/research institutes, local governments and more importantly by NGOs, NPOs and local communities for overcoming the biodiversity crisis.
In particular, Strategic Goal D of the New Strategic Plan, “Enhance the benefits from biodiversity and ecosystems” is a very important point in NACS-J’s nature conservation activities. Nature conservation of which NACS-J speaks is not only simply protecting nature but also giving local communities a realization of benefits provided by biological diversity as well as building a society that can enjoy those benefits for many generations to come (Target 14). To this end, conserving the remaining biodiversity is critical as it will lead to securing the safety, welfare and security of our society and the realization of an affluent society, as well as adaptation to climate change (Target 15). NACS-J is promoting activities, being aware that costs and benefits associated with biodiversity conservation must be equally shared between areas actually conserving biodiversity (developing countries, depopulated areas, Satoyama) and areas utilizing it (developed countries, urban areas) (Target 16).
NACS-J considers CBD-COP10 as the greatest opportunity for the whole world to make a commitment for the future of life on earth. We fully support the “UN Decade of Biodiversity” proposed by the Japan Civil Network for Convention on Biological Diversity (JCN-CBD) as the first step for “Step Change” towards biodiversity conservation. We are also committed to making policy recommendations to COP10 and to realizing a biodiversity-friendly society followed by COP10, bringing the establishment of cooperative relationships with other international organizations into view.
Give top priority in international policies to the realization of the future picture, “living in harmony with nature”, and demand that the Parties have a strong will and the capacity to deliver.
NACS-J pointed out in its 2009 Position Paper the need of “maintaining biodiversity at 2010 levels or higher as well as building a sustainable relationship between people and nature by 2050”. The Vision and Mission in the New Strategic Plan proposed by the Secretariat of CBD (SCBD) include proposals aligned with NACS-J’s opinions, therefore we approve it in principle.
To be more specific, in order to realize the Vision, “living in harmony with nature”, the Mission and the Targets must be more ambitious. Just “halting biodiversity loss by 2020” (Option 2) is not sufficient. It has to be stopped even before 2020 and also restoration based on ecological approaches must be implemented. Unless the world at large shares this common understanding and every effective effort is maximized, reaching catastrophic tipping points (where the biodiversity status dramatically worsens) is inevitable.
Especially, as the drivers of biodiversity loss are closely tied to society and economy, it is imperative to make effective efforts as policy reform in a prompt manner. National leaders (decision makers) are required to have a strong will and the ability to position biodiversity conservation as an international policy agenda which is as important as global warming countermeasures and to translate it to national policy/measures in order to eliminate poverty and gaps.
<1> Address the drivers of biodiversity loss
(1) Promote awareness, ensuring that opportunities for education on biodiversity are provided to everyone (Target 1)
NACS-J has devoted itself to local nature conservation and nature conservation education since its establishment. From our abundant experience, we consider it significantly important that everyone “recognizes” the value of biodiversity. “To recognize” here means that people spontaneously become aware of and understand the value of biodiversity and is totally different from mere “publicity” by the government. “Bringing out one’s own awareness” is essentially the power of education. We believe it is the Parties’ duty to ensure that such educational opportunities are provided to everyone within school and social education systems in all countries including developing countries and in all generations.
(2) Include biodiversity in the indicators to measure national affluence and realize the steering of a nation based on biodiversity conservation (Target 2)
The value of biodiversity must be integrated into national accounts as one of the criteria other than ones for economic values such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At the same time the idea that conserving biodiversity will lead to a country of affluence, owing to the benefits brought by related ecosystem services must be shared globally. On that basis, biodiversity conservation must be integrated into the grand design of national land which has influence on national land use and the local community structure in the future. Otherwise “living in harmony with nature” will never be realized. It is also important to shift public projects to ones targeting biodiversity conservation which will bring long-term affluence, without being bound by short-term economic and/or infrastructure development. To that end, scrutiny and improvement of law systems related to environmental impact assessments (EIA) as well as planning processes which have long caused biodiversity loss by giving priorities to development are imperative in order to change them to ones based on biodiversity conservation.
(3) Promote positive incentives for conservation, eliminating subsidies harmful to biodiversity (Target 3)
The drivers of biodiversity loss will not be properly addressed unless all funding to biodiversity destruction (domestic subsidies and overseas funding) is eliminated. “Positive incentives” described in the proposed Target 3 should include subsidies, grants and public subsidies by national governments along with overseas assistances and aids. Financial resources should be secured by eliminating incentives for destruction. Subsequently, they should be used for direct efforts to conservation and restoration of biodiversity as well as for funding mechanisms which facilitate those efforts (incentive and certification schemes including direct payments to biodiversity-friendly agriculture and consumer labeling schemes such as eco labels and eco points).
<2> Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use
(4) Endemic biodiversity cannot be offset
It is necessary to understand that biodiversity is the product of the times and evolution since the Earth’s formation and is also endemic, therefore replacing it with ones of other areas is extremely difficult. Top priority should be given to preventing the loss and conserving the current status, not to promoting compensation through economic measures such as biodiversity offsets or market mechanisms. Compensation measures including offsets should not be encouraged unless the conclusion is made based on the EIA scheme which can demonstrate and verify that the biodiversity loss cannot be prevented or minimized.
(5) Make a major shift to sustainable, biodiversity-friendly primary industry (Target 6 & 7)
Many developed countries including Japan import agricultural crops and lumber from other countries. In exporting countries biodiversity has been reduced due to excessive use of natural resources, consequently ecosystem services which producing countries are supposed to receive have been lost. As a result, traditional agriculture and forestry have become difficult to continue, thereby creating poverty. In order for each country to make a major shift to sustainable primary industry with more attention to biodiversity, it is necessary to review the current trend of promoting scale-ups and efficiency including global-scale logistics; to make good use of traditional, endemic methods; and to promote biodiversity-friendly primary industry that suits the local community.
Especially in fishery, “overfishing and destructive fishing practices are eliminated, and illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing is stopped, aiming for establishing sustainable management of marine resources by 2020 ” (Target 6) must become a global common target. Certification schemes have already begun to be introduced and they must be adopted in all products and further enhanced. This must be included in Target 6 and 7 in order to promote sustainable primary industry.
(6) Halt destruction of coastal areas and coral reefs, which are treasury of biodiversity (Target10)
Imminent danger to vulnerable coastal ecosystems such as coral reefs includes not only climate change or ocean acidification but also direct destruction by development and pollutants running into the sea more than ever. Careful attention has to be paid to this serious issue. Parties must examine the current situation where development activities that would change the coastal line as well as pollutants running into the sea are posing a danger to and causing the loss of biodiversity. Parties must stop the destruction of coastal areas in light of those mistakes.
<3> Improve status of biodiversity
(7) Shift from the designation of protected areas based on solely the coverage area to effective management of the protected area (Target 11)
Most effective tool for addressing direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss is the approach at ecosystem levels, in other words, “protected area”. The important point of this target is not only the coverage of protected areas. It is important that the following critical aspects are included in the target: Protected areas are designated for every ecosystem type (representativity); adjacent protected areas are connected via ecological corridors (connectivity); human-induced impacts such as excessive utilization and illegal diggings are eliminated, and protected areas are managed comprehensively, taking into account sustainable use linked to local culture and livelihood (effective management); consistency of biodiversity conservation is ensured in the surrounding areas of protected areas (integration into landscape level).
(8) Promote designation of effective marine protected areas (Target 11)
To achieve the target, “15% of the coast and open ocean water are designated as protected areas by 2020” (COP9 Decision IX/20), designation of marine areas of importance and establishment of networks of marine protected areas must be facilitated. For designation of effective marine protected areas, including as many marine areas of native condition as possible and involving various stakeholders such as local citizens and fishermen are essential. It is important to eliminate vertically divided administrative functions (environment, rivers, fishery, ports etc.) and to designate effective marine protected areas through cooperative discussion.
(9) Enhance safeguarding threatened species based on conservation/restoration plans (Target 12)
In order to achieve Target 12, “by 2020, the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented”, numerical targets such as “the status of at least 10% of threatened species improved” must be explicitly stipulated. Formulation of a conservation/restoration plan for each species must be provided in laws, and mechanisms to translate it to concrete actions through consultation between governments, citizens and NGOs must be developed in order to achieve those targets. It is imperative to determine the current status of threatened species and identify biodiversity hotspots based on scientific research, and to enhance in-situ and ex-situ conservation.
<4> Enhance capacity to implement Strategic Plan
(10) Development, implementation and evaluation of national strategies which designate every sector as an “implementing body” (Target 17)
In order for various sectors to proactively implement National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), the strategy has to be recognized as their own by each sector. To do so, mechanisms for various stakeholders to be actively involved in the entire process of development, implementation and evaluation of NBSAP as an “implementing body” rather than simply attending processes, responding to a request are required.
(11) Rediscover and inherit traditional knowledge which respects biodiversity (Target 18)
To find sustainable ways of living, it is important to revisit traditional knowledge which has long respected biodiversity and to make good use of it in today’s livelihood. In Japan, a major economic power, much of local knowledge had been inherited until 1950s. It is not too late now to rediscover and inherit traditional knowledge which has started to disappear rapidly in each country. This target should be achieved by 2020.
(12) Develop leaders of human resources development and enhance capacity (Target 20)
It is imperative to enhance human capacity by 2020 for implementing the Convention. However, enhancing human capacity does not mean that the number of experts and government-related personnel are increased tenfold. Everyone has to not only recognize the value of biodiversity but also take action for conservation based on proper knowledge. Traditional knowledge should be rediscovered and at the same time the capacity to develop human resources which local communities used to have should be revisited. Having a leader of human resources development in your own community is an asset and should be highly appreciated. Educational and human resource development systems for biodiversity conservation must be established in each sector including governments, the private sector, local communities and citizens.
<5> Identify and promote implementing/supporting mechanisms effective for implementing the Plan
(13) Promote efforts of citizens and NGOs contributing to Global Monitoring
In order to establish broad-based, long-term biodiversity monitoring networks contributing to the global monitoring, monitoring activities by citizens and NGOs should be involved as essential elements and further be strategically expanded. A citizen-based monitoring survey should be positioned as one of the indispensable mechanisms for implementing a New Strategic Plan, as monitoring by local citizens of local biodiversity and related ecosystem services brought to them leads to promoting awareness and conservation of biodiversity.
(14) Develop “indicators” to accurately assess the nature of biodiversity and conservation efforts
Although indicators for monitoring and evaluation have been under development through GBO3 and the like, indicators to assess the status of biodiversity is somewhat weighted in the components of biodiversity (extent of biomes, abundance of threatened/selected species etc.). Indicators in relation to connectivity between different ecosystems including forests, rivers and seas, and functions and processes such as matter dynamics, disturbance and interaction between species must be developed. Also as indicators to assess progress of conversation measures, the number of citizens participating in nature conservation activities and natural environment surveys, the extent of areas actually protected by traditional knowledge and/or practice, as well as the number of people living in such communities should be included.
The government of Japan is required to have a position and responsibility to take the lead in implementing a New Strategic Plan as the host country of CBD-COP10, a milestone for biodiversity conservation. NACS-J demands that the Japanese government take action as listed below:
<Review legal systems>
(1) Revise the “Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” more effective
The Japanese government should revise the “Law for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” to a great extent, making it more effective in order to take the initiative in achieving Target 12, “the extinction of known threatened species has been prevented”. To be more specific, the Red List should be prescribed in the law, aiming all the threatened species to be delisted (restored). Furthermore, effective conservation/restoration plans for each species must be developed and implemented, and the budget needs to be allocated in accordance with the degree of risk. It should be revised systematically to explicitly stipulate that governments, citizens and NGOs must work together upon implementing the plan; concrete targets and roadmaps must be explicitly provided therein; and periodic review of the restoration plan is assured.
(2) Mainstream local biodiversity strategic plans in development plans and introduce strategic EIA scheme.
Local governments started to develop local biodiversity strategic plans, taking COP10 as an opportunity, which NACS-J highly recognizes. As it is stipulated in Target 2 “the values of biodiversity are integrated by all countries in their national and local strategies and planning processes”, national biodiversity strategies and local biodiversity strategic plans must be mainstreamed in all kinds of spatial management plans including development plans, public property management plans (for rivers, coasts and etc.) and resource management plans (fishery etc.). It is important that planning systems are systematically structured, as well as strategic EIA schemes being introduced so that local conservation management and sustainable land use will be realized.
<Conservation of river ecosystems>
(3) Review dam projects which have been causing the loss of river biodiversity
Dams have broken the river connectivity, causing the loss of the original function of rivers, and also have caused the loss of biodiversity in watersheds and ocean areas, reducing related ecosystem services. The government of Japan should learn from these mistakes, and revisit not only construction methods and environmental consideration but also the fundamentals of river management including the “role of river improvement” in order to halt the loss of biodiversity in brackish and fresh water areas, thereby realizing national land management which can secure the connectivity of “forests, rivers, and seas”, eliminating vertically divided administration.
(4) Promote removal and workover of sediment control /erosion-control dams for the purpose of restoration of mountain stream environment
Many sediment control /erosion-control dams have been constructed across the country and have contributed to disaster prevention. On the other hand, they have adversely affected biological diversity by breaking the connectivity of mountain streams and by harming dynamisms that the rivers originally had. As the life of a dam is usually 50 to 100 years, many of them will require workover in the near future. There are cases where the risk of disaster has decreased since the time when the dam was built due to successful restoration of forests. Therefore, it is necessary to review the risk of disaster and the need for disaster prevention once again, and to promote workover, taking into consideration removal of dams and/or construction of slit dams. The government should, based on scientific verification, develop guidelines for dam workover, aiming restoration of mountain stream environment.
<Conservation of ocean ecosystems>
(5) Stop reclamation of coastal zones which causes the loss of marine biodiversity
The government of Japan should re-examine failures in development of coastal lines and nearshore waters which have been posing a threat to biodiversity, and as the host country of COP10, make a crucial decision to take the initiative in stopping destruction in coastal zones. The government should also consider conservation management of coastal zones and designation of protected areas. Especially coral reef zones in Okinawa (the Awase Tideland, the Oura Bay in Henoko area etc.) and enclosed coastal seas (the Isahaya Bay, Kaminoseki in the Seto Inland Sea etc.) need immediate attention.
<Management of environment and nature>
(6) Promote environment management and regional development based on scientific monitoring
NACS-J is carrying out the “AKAYA Project” and the “AYA Restoration Project” in Gunma and Miyazaki prefectures respectively in close cooperation with Forest Agency, the local governments and the local communities. Both projects are aimed at the conservation of biodiversity and the development of sustainable local communities based on scientific monitoring. The government of Japan must establish a framework for realizing a society where every stakeholder plays a role to contribute to conservation and restoration of biodiversity and makes good use of biodiversity, by using these projects as models of pioneering regional environment management.
(7) Give due consideration to genetic disturbance caused by resource recovery activities such as release of fish and coral transplantation
Release of young fish and transplantation of coral reefs with the purpose of recovering natural food resources and tourism resources are currently being carried out across the country. However, there is little awareness that these resources are in fact “biological diversity” themselves. Upon carrying out resource recovery projects, it is necessary to fully understand the role of the particular species within the ecosystems and the fact that there are interactions with other species; to emphasize on the importance of securing and recovering the health of the particular species within its life history; not to harm genetic endemism and structure of the particular species which have been formed during the course of evolution; and to pay appropriate attention not to have an impact on the ecosystem in the future. It is also critical to take appropriate measures based on a scientific assessment and the precautionary principle for implementation of such projects.
(8) Introduce biodiversity conservation into compulsory education
Where there is no concern about biodiversity conservation, there is no welfare in the future of humankind. In order to achieve Target 1, basic curriculum on biodiversity including on-site training, along with elementary writing and reading, must be included in compulsory education so that every citizen of the country could receive environmental education on biodiversity. In order to support the achievement of Target 17 and 19, the idea of biodiversity conservation must become common sense in every social activity.
Society as a whole must make a “Step Change” on various policies and efforts towards “living in harmony with nature” so that Japanese biodiversity is ensured to be conserved under a New Strategic Plan. For that purpose, NACS-J will increase its members (currently 21,000) and supporters, and accelerate biodiversity conservation rooted in local livelihoods in cooperation with experts and citizens who play important roles in conservation of local natural environment. In order to achieve this goal, NACS-J will promote the actions and projects listed below, based on whose outcome NACS-J will contribute to the conservation of global biodiversity.
<Safeguard sites at stake due to development projects and the like>
・In Japan, government-led development projects which harm biodiversity, namely reclamation of sea coasts, construction of dams/power generation facilities and etc. are still being carried out. NACS-J will proceed with action to ensure the elimination of the drivers of biodiversity loss through the monitoring of development projects and EIA scheme implementation as well as making recommendations on legal systems.
<Building models of sustainable use and biodiversity conservation by various stakeholders>
・NACS-J will develop conservation management systems by promoting pioneering cases of development of sustainable communities based on local biodiversity management such as the “AKAYA Project” and the “AYA Restoration Project” which are being carried out in cooperation with the local citizens and the governments.
<Monitoring and conservation of local ecosystems through networks of citizens and scientists>
・NACS-J will take action to promote local citizen-based monitoring, assessment and conservation of biodiversity in nature of importance in local communities or nature reserves including world heritage sites, as well as one in Satoyama, tidelands and seacoasts across the country.
・Regarding the use of scientific information, NACS-J will play a role of interface between the national government and citizens/researchers.
・NACS-J will promote studies and educational activities of citizens and researchers across the country through subsidized projects as well as enhancing their communication.
<Development of leaders for biodiversity conservation and educational activities>
・NACS-J will develop leaders for biodiversity conservation in local communities by providing training of “NACS-J Nature Conservation Educators”, citizen volunteers, across the country and by providing follow up on and support to their activities, thereby mainstreaming the value of local biodiversity in society.
・NACS-J will encourage governments, the private sector and the general public to shift their life-styles to the ones that support biodiversity conservation, and will provide them with education so that they can take action towards biodiversity conservation based on proper understanding of biodiversity.
<Promotion of participatory projects which create common ground between biodiversity and citizens>
・In order for many citizens to realize their own local nature and the value of ecosystem services brought by local nature and to start caring about them, NACS-J will carry out the activities listed below:
①Monitoring of local biodiversity and related ecosystem services
②Development and upgrading skills of biodiversity conservationists
③Development and implementation of programs on which participants can experience the actual feeling of local biodiversity (nature watching, studies, workshops, study tours and media)
④Promotion of matching and collaboration between citizen activities and the private sector/local governments