Second National Report of Belgium
to the Convention on Biological Diversity

Article 13 Public education and awareness


180. What is the relative priority afforded to implementation of this Article and the associated decisions by your country?
a) High X
b) Medium Fl.
c) Low

181. To what extent are the resources available adequate for meeting the obligations and recommendations made?
a) Good
b) Adequate X
c) Limiting
d) Severely limiting

182. Does your country promote and encourage understanding of the importance of, and the measures required for, the conservation of biodiversity (13a) through media?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent X
c) yes - significant extent

183. Does your country promote and encourage understanding of the importance of, and the measures required for, the conservation of biodiversity (13a) through the inclusion of this topic in education programmes?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent
c) yes - significant extent X

184. Does your country co-operate with other States and international organisations in developing relevant educational and public awareness programmes (13b)?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent X
c) yes - significant extent

Decision IV/10. Measures for implementing the Convention [part]

185. Are public education and awareness needs covered in the national strategy and action plan?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent Wa.
c) yes - significant extent Fl.

186. Has your country allocated appropriate resources for the strategic use of education and communication instruments at each phase of policy formulation, implementation and evaluation?
a) limited resources
b) significant but not adequate resources X
c) adequate resources

187. Does your country support initiatives by major groups that foster stakeholder participation and that integrate biological diversity conservation matters in their practice and education programmes?
a) no
b) yes X

188. Has your country integrated biodiversity concerns into education strategies?
a) no
b) early stages of development
c) advanced stages of development Wa.
d) yes Fl.

189. Has your country made available any case-studies on public education and awareness and public participation, or otherwise sought to share experiences?
a) no
b) yes X

190. Has your country illustrated and translated the provisions of the Convention into any local languages to promote public education and awareness raising of relevant sectors?
a) not relevant
b) still to be done
c) under development
d) yes X

(190) The text of the Convention is available on the Belgian CHM in Dutch, French and German, which are the three official languages in Belgium. Moreover a Dutch and French version of the Belgian CHM were launched during the summer period of 2001 and are currently being developed. Several articles, brochures, etc. on CBD provisions have been published in Dutch and French for the Belgian public. The colloquium 'Belgium and the Convention on Biological Diversity - A state of the art' was organised on 17 November 1999 and was open to all (Van Goethem, J.L., Hecq, W. & Peeters, M. (Eds), 2000. Proceedings of the colloquium 'Belgium and the Convention on Biological Diversity - A state of the art'. Bulletin de l'Institut royal des Sciences naturelles de Belgique, Biologie, vol. 70 - supplement, ISSN 0374-6429: 103 pp).

191. Is your country supporting local, national, sub-regional and regional education and awareness programmes?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent
c) yes - significant extent X

If a developing country Party or Party with economy in transition -

192. When requesting assistance through the GEF, has your country proposed projects that promote measures for implementing Article 13 of the Convention?
a) no
b) yes

Decision V/17. Education and public awareness

193. Does your country support capacity-building for education and communication in biological diversity as part of the national biodiversity strategy and action plans?
a) no
b) limited support
c) yes X

Further comments on implementation of this Article

(general) In Flanders there are a number of educational efforts on different levels: on all levels of education between 3 and 18 years, specific aspects of environmental education are an integral part of the educational program. The institutes of higher education do not have a specific program. Most of the Flemish universities have signed the COPERNICUS Treaty (Co-operation Program in Europe for Research on Nature and Industry through Co-ordinated University Studies).

Regional initiatives:

  • the Flemish environmental action plan (MINA 2), initiative 146, created an environmental education department within the government administration;
  • AMINAL is responsible for 5 educational centers open to the public; in 3 of them the environmental education department offers integrated EE-programmes;
  • AMINAL will organize at the end of 2001 a course 'Professional Environmental Education'. Most of governmental owned nature reserves are open to the public. Several specific projects are subsidised: the 'Environment Encounter Program' for all the basic schools, the 'Educational Schelde Communication Project' (11-14 y.), the 'Environment-boat' as a sailing EE-centre, and some smaller projects.

Provincial initiatives:

  • each province (except one) has its own centre for environmental education; the province without own centre has several regional points of support for environmental education;
  • most of the provincial owned nature reserves also have an educational function.

Cities:

  • a number of cities in Flanders have their own environmental education center;
  • most cities have an own educational program.

 Private organisations:

  • 2 privately owned environmental education organisations are active in Flanders: 'Centrum voor Natuur- en Milieu-educatie (CVN)' and the environmental education organisation 'De Wielewaal - Educatief'. The CVN organizes each year a course for nature guides. In 2000, 416 persons followed the course of which 213 graduated. Update2002: De Wielewaal and Natuurreservaten have merged in to Natuurpunt More information on their education programme is available under education on their web site.

Socio-cultural organisations:

  • non governmental nature organisations are offering their members a wide range of environmental education activities.

Youth organisations:

  • the 'Jeugdbond voor Natuurstudie en Milieubescherming (JNM)' is an organisation specific for children and young adults between 8 and 25 years.

Organised groups: some organisations have a number of specific environmental education initiatives. Actions include:

  • set up of visitor centres in vicinity of major protected areas;
  • organisation of guided tours in protected areas;
  • publication of brochures and folders on specific aspects of nature conservation;- co-operation with and support of nature conservation organisations and provincial or municipal authorities for specific public awareness projects;
  • educational centre for forestry;- development of websites. More information: www.mina.vlaanderen.be/milieueducatie/centra/

(general) The Walloon Region has developed an extended network of 'Centres Régionaux d'Initiation à l'Environnement' (CRIE), centres for environmental education and awareness. Those centres develop programs based on nature and biodiversity for public awareness purposes. Their actions are mainly (but not exclusively) oriented towards school children aged 6-12. Furthermore, 'green classes' are organised in most schools. Naturalists' associations are financed in view to organise public awareness and education activities. Nature protection organisations such as the WWF, AVES, the 'Ligue Royale pour la Protection des Oiseaux' (LRBPO), the 'Réserves naturelles et ornithologiques de Belgique' (RNOB), 'Ardenne et Gaume', 'Les Cercles des Naturalistes de Belgique', 'Jeunes et Nature' and 'Forêt Wallonne' all have educational activities oriented towards nature conservation (e.g. excursions, visits of nature reserves, management of nature reserves, publications, etc.) or towards specific thematic areas (e.g. forests, quality of watercourses, etc.). Other associations such as GAWI (integrated and biological fruit production) and CARI (protection of pollinators) receive support from the Walloon Region to promote awareness programmes on sustainable management of natural resources. The NGO 'Les Cercles des Naturalistes de Belgique' organises every year nature guide training courses at 5 training locations, both in French (Vierves-sur-Viroin, Sart-Tilman, Mont-Rigi, Bon-Secours and Brussels) and in German (Haus Ternell). The Walloon Region also launches regularly thematic nature protection or development operations, which always include an important public awareness and educational part. Some examples of projects include the migration of black storks (www.explorado.com) or the raising of ladybirds as a means of sustainable control of aphids (www.coccinelles.be)

(general) Federal level - In 2000 a brochure entitled 'Threatened plant species and the tourist' was edited in Dutch and French and widely disseminated by the Federal Ministry for Agriculture. Another brochure, dealing with CITES and the concerned plant species, is also available at the Ministry for Agriculture. Some research projects, in association with relevant university courses, demonstrate the need for, and the potential uses of, plant genetic resources. Development of 'on farm' or in situ orchards together with visits of collections and manifestations organised for schools and the general public enhance the public awareness concerning this topic. Public and media collaboration plays a key role for the collection of endangered old fruit tree cultivars. Within the National Botanic Garden of Belgium an education section has been created a few years ago. As the presentation of the collections is ongoing, new display texts are formulated, with special attention to the CBD and its consequences. The next 'Education congress' of the European Botanic Gardens will be organised and hosted by the National Botanic Garden of Belgium. The development of the education strategy is completely in line with the action plan of Botanic Gardens conservation International in this field. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences has a fully operational educational unit, in charge of organising school visits (3-18 years old) and guided tours for visitors of the Natural History Museum, as well as seminars and teacher trainings on nature and biodiversity. This unit also organises practical workshops for children (in French: Ateliers Nature, ages 5-12/ in Dutch: Natuurateliers, ages 7-16) that address a great variety of specific themes and promote awareness on nature and biological diversity (Wednesdays, Saturdays and holidays).

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Last updated  29-11-2004


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