Second National Report of Belgium
to the Convention on Biological Diversity

Article 5 Co-operation


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

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

 

13. Is your country actively co-operating with other Parties in respect of areas beyond national jurisdiction for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity?
a) bilateral co-operation X
b) international programmes X
c) international agreements X

Decision IV/4. Status and trends of the biological diversity of inland water ecosystems and options for conservation and sustainable use

14. Has your country developed effective co-operation for the sustainable management of transboundary watersheds, catchments, river basins and migratory species through bilateral and multilateral agreements?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent (please give details below) X
c) yes - significant extent (please give details below)
d) not applicable

Decision IV/15. The relationship of the CBD with the CSD and biodiversity-related conventions, other international agreements, institutions and processes or relevance

15. Has your country developed management practices for transboundary protected areas?
a) no
b) yes - limited extent (please give details below) Fl.
c) yes - significant extent X
d) not relevant

Decision V/21. Co-operation with other bodies

16. Has your country collaborated with the International Biodiversity Observation Year of DIVERSITAS, and ensured complementarity with the initiative foreseen to be undertaken by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to increase scientific knowledge and public awareness of the crucial role of biodiversity for sustainable development?
a) no
b) to a limited extent X
c) to a significant extent

Decision V/27. Contribution of the Convention on Biological Diversity to the ten-year review of progress achieved since the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development

17. Is your country planning to highlight and emphasize biological diversity considerations in its contribution to the ten-year review of progress since the Earth Summit?
a) no
b) yes X

Further comments on implementation of this Article

(13) CHM Partnership According to the idea of partnering role supported by the CBD-Secretariat, Belgium is hosting for the necessary time the Clearing-Houses for the Convention on Biological Diversity of non-webconnected CHM National Focal Points (bch-cbd.naturalsciences.be/belgium/partner.htm). The partnership activities started in 1998 with the request from the Democratic Republic of Congo to develop and host their CBD CHM website. The Belgian National Focal Point agreed and the server of the Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences (RBINS) is hosting this CHM since 1998. This partnership was presented by the NFP of the D.R. Congo to other countries with difficulties to develop a CHM. Since the launch of the first partner CHM others have followed. At present, the Belgian NFP is hosting the CHM websites of: Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mauritania, Niger and the Republic of Djibouti. The CHMs of Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and the Republic of Djibouti are produced and maintained by the webmaster of the Belgian CHM. In 1999, the Belgian NFP received a request from Chad about the possibility of webmaster training for the Chad CHM. In September 1999, a person from Chad followed a month-long training provided by the Belgian NFP. As a result the CHM of Chad was published on the web. The NFP of the Democratic Republic of Congo received training during the month of July 2000. During this training, the site of the Democratic Republic of Congo was modernised. These experiences and similar requests from other countries showed the need for training of NFP staff of African CHMs. Therefore the NFP developed a training programme to enable the persons in charge of the CHM in their country to develop and maintain webpages for their CBD-CHM. So far three training sessions of one month each were given in 2000 and 2001 to people from Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Benin, Djibouti and Cameroon. A total of 10 people have received training since the beginning of the partnership. Financing by the Department of Development Co-operation has facilitated the partnership initiative and training. A secondary goal of the training was the development and launch of the national CHM website of the trainees. At this moment the sites of the Central African Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Guinea are developed and maintained by their respective CHM-NFP or the trainee. The partnership initiative by Belgium is still the only active CHM partnership with developing countries in the world. African countries are much interested in this initiative, as was again emphasised during the 'African regional meeting on Biosafety CH and CHM' at the UNEP Head Quarters in Nairobi, Kenya from 26-28 February 2001. Following the two presentations on partnership and training possibilities representatives of different countries made requests for more information on these possibilities. Similar interest on the Belgian initiative was also shown by Central and Eastern European countries during the Pan-European workshop on 'Building the CHM partnership' in Bonn, 28-29 September 2001. The Belgian CHM NFP participated to the 'Séminaire régional sur la diversité biologique et les aires protégées en Afrique centrale' (Cameroun, 17-21.09.2001) and presented the Belgian CHM partnering role and the importance of information sharing. The CHM NFP of the D.R. Congo participated to the 'Deuxième réunion régionale du programme de soutien à la planification de la biodiversité pour l'Afrique de l'ouest et l'Afrique centrale' (Ghana, 17-19.09.2001) and gave a presentation about the CHM of the D.R. Congo and the role of the CHM partnership with Belgium.·

The Flemish Community: bilateral co-operation

Chile
1996: RUG-KUL-Universidad de Concepcion: Reconstruction, monitoring and remediation on freshwater environments based on the use of biological indicator species.
1999: RUG-VIB-University of Chile-Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas: The use of the micro-array technique as a tool for gene expression analysis in molecular biology.
1999: University Austral de Chile: Comparison of ecosystem functioning and biogeochemical cycles in temperate forests in southern Chile and Flanders.

China
1998: RUG-VIB-Chinese Academy of Sciences-Institute of Botany: Biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use of Lilium in China.
1999: KUL-RUG-Salt research Institute-Biology Department: Study of the biodiversity of Chinese Artemia Strains and their possible application in research and aquaculture.

Costa-Rica
2000: Belgian Landscape Foundation: Eco-model project 'Centro Neotrópico Sarapiquis' - La Virgen de Sarapiquis.

Hungary
1999: KUL-RUG-Hungarian Natural History Museum-Department of Zoology: Biodiversity in temporary aquatic habitats: species richness and genetic diversity in branchiopods.
1996: Institute for Forestry and Game Management: 'Selection and improvement of fast growing tree species'.

Poland
1996: KUL-RUG-University of Wroclaw: Search for the most potent and protease resistant peptides of particular insect species for eventual exploitation in pest control measures.
1998: RUG-VUB-Agricultural University of Warsaw: Environmental river catchment by natural or artificial wetlands.
2000: RUG-UA-VUB-Agricultural University of Warsaw: Ecological responses to changing hydrological conditions in floodplains. Institute for Forestry and Game Management: Study of the genetic diversity of the oak. Putting laboratory facilities and means at a PhD-student's disposal.

South-Africa
1995: University Ghent: Marine biology.
1996: KUL-LUC-University Potchefstroom: Purification and characterisation of natural toxins from scorpions living in southern Africa targeting ion channels in humans and insects.
1996: University Ghent: feasibility study: Quality of education at the Botany Department.
1996, 1998: University Ghent: Marine biology and nematology: tuition on biodiversity of species and their habitats.1996: University Ghent: Bilateral tuition project on plant biotechnology.
1997: RUCA-VUB-University Zululand: Comparative study of bioaccumulation and effects of metals in mussels between a temperate and subtropical region: the Scheldt estuary (Antwerp harbour-Flanders) and the Richards Bay Harbour.
1998: KUL-LUC-VUB-University of Stellenbosch: Neural networks and advances methods for monitoring and control of flotation plants.
1998: RUG-VUB-University of Cape Town: Biodiversity studies on seaweed and echinoderms in the transition between temperate southern Africa and the tropical western Indian Ocean.
1998: University Ghent: Co-operation between the University of Ghent and the University of the North (UNIN) in South-Africa in support of the post-graduate course on biotechnology.

Bolivia
Ethno-botanical research is performed in Bolivia by the Ghent University in co-operation with Ametrac (Bolivia).·

The Flemish Community: projects in the framework of international agreements and programs, and multilateral co-operation

The Flemish Government Direction for Nature

Bonn Convention: Reintroduction of Sahara-Sahel antelopes in Northern Africa - pilot project in co-operation with Tunisia.

Under AEWA agreement: Technical and financial support of the publication of the Wader Atlas.

Under EUROBATS agreement: Technical and financial support for the development and publication of brochures for awareness programme on bat conservation in Eastern-European countries.

Bern Convention: Support for the development of the Emerald ecological network in Eastern-European countries.

EU-Bird Directive: Financial support for the Conference Bird Census 2001, especially for participation of Eastern-European delegates.

Institute for Forestry and Game Management

Under COST-action E4: European forest reserves research network (1996-1999) (± 15 European countries), financing of meetings (2 per year).

Concerted action (PL97-3575): 'Indicators for monitoring and evaluation of forest biodiversity in Europe' (1996-1999), financing of meetings and publications by EU (AIR).

European Commission and ECE-ICP Forests of the UN: Forest Condition in Europe, Pan-European, yearly financing.

ICP Forests: 'Forest Soil Expert Panel' (financing of meetings).COST-action E12: 'Urban Forests and Trees' (1997-2002), 27 European countries, financing of meetings.

COST-action E6: 'Eurosylva-Tree physiology' (1996-2000), 15 countries, financing of meetings.

EUFORGEN: European Forest Genetic Resources programme. Steering Committee. Financing meetings (every 4 year) (±20 European countries). Populus nigra network (1 meeting per year). 'Noble Hardwoods'-network (1 meeting per year). 'Social hardwoods' network (1 meeting per year).

EC-AIR project: Inter-disciplinary research for poplar improvement (IRPI), 1993-1996 (Italy, France, UK, Luxembourg, Ireland).'Co-ordination for conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources of European Elms'. (1997-2001), (France, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece, UK).

EU-FAIR: 'Genetic diversity in river populations of European Black poplar for evaluation of biodiversity, conservation strategies, nature development and genetic improvement.'(1998-2001) (Netherlands, Spain, France, UK, Austria, Germany, Hungary).

FAO: Afforestation, Forestry Research, Planning and Development in the Three North Region (1996-1997), Partner China. Training of technicians and making available the genetic material of the poplar (financing by DGIS).

Afforestation, Forestry Research, Planning and Development in the Three North Region, Phase II (1998-2002), Partner China, consultancy.FAIR5-QLRT-2000-00631: 'Improving Fraxinus (Ash) productivity for European needs by testing, selection, propagation and promotion of improved genetic resources' (2001-2004) (UK, France, Germany, Ireland).

EU-LIFE project: 'Biological Indicator of Pisciculture Integration for the Evaluation of the Ecological Quality of Lotic Systems' (1997 - 2000) (research programme). This project has the objective to realise the development and the standardisation of a fishing index for the global quality evaluation of all watercourses within the hydrographical basin of the Meuse. Partners are The Netherlands, the Walloon provinces, France.

EU-programme 'Studies in support of the common fisheries policy'. In the framework of this programme, the Institute participates in a concerted action 'Management of European eel: Establishment of a recruitment monitoring system (GLASS EEL)' (1/12/99 till 30/11/2001), in which 12 countries participate. This project concerns the following sub-aspects with regard to the glass eel research: development of a monitoring stations-network; international standardisation of the monitoring methodology; development of data exchange procedures; providing historical data; costs for meetings and publications.

Inter alia in the framework of dry- and sub-humid lands, the Ghent University had or has co-operation projects with partners in Israel and Egypt (i.a. germplasm collection of Pistacia spp.), Kenya (agroforestry & ethnobotany), Togo (influence of dams on natural environment), Senegal (vegetation modeling, ethnobotany), Morocco and Namibia (both ethnobotany).·

The Walloon Region: overview of ongoing projects

Wallonia contributes to the implementation of Article 5 of the CBD in Europe a.o. through the following instruments: Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy, the Bern Convention, the Bonn Convention, the Ramsar Directive, the Habitats and Bird Directives of the EU, the Benelux Convention.

Bilateral co-operation with neighbouring countries (GD Luxembourg, France, The Netherlands, Germany) does exist for the management of transboundary protected areas, such as the High Fens Eiffel Natural Reserve with Germany and the management of the Our Valley area together with Luxembourg and Germany in the frame of the Benelux Convention and EU framework.

A project plan for the transboundary management of an ecological network between GD Luxembourg and the Walloon Region is being developed. Joint actions are also implemented with The Netherlands in the frame of Salmon reintroduction in the river Meuse basin (project Salmon 2000).

In the frame of the Ramsar Convention, the Walloon Region supports the management of wet zones crossed by the black stork in its migration between Europe and Senegal.·

The French Community: bilateral and multilateral co-operation projects

Africa (various countries involved)
1993-2004: Ecofac - 'Conservation et utilisation rationnelle des ecosystems forestiers en Afrique centrale' [the ULB is associated to this project, executed in co-operation with the universities of Yaoundé (Cameroun), Brazzaville (Congo) and Bangui (Central African Republic), the 'Institut de recherché en écologie tropicale' (Gabon), the National Herbarium of Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tomé; financing: EU-DG 8].
2001-2002: Plamenet - 'Les plantes médicinales africaines sur Internet' [ULB in co-operation with the Universities of Monastir (Tunisia), Abomey-Calavi (Benin), Yaoundé (Cameroun) and Bujumbura (Burundi); financing: 'Fonds Francophone des Inforoutes'].
2001-2004: Diveac - 'Diversité végétale en Afrique centrale' [ULB and FUSAGx in co-operation with the universities of Yaoundé (Cameroun) and Bangui (Central African Republic) and the National Herbarium of Equatorial Guinea; financing: 'Conseil Interuniversitaire de la Communauté française' and DGIC].
2001-2004: 'Assistance technique au Programme de conservation et utilisation rationnelle des aires protégées contigues du Bénin, du Burkina Faso, du Niger et de leurs zones d'influence' [ULB is associated to this project, executed in co-operation with the universities of Benin and Niamey (Niger), and with the 'Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique' (Burkina Faso); financing: EU-DG 8].

Bénin
1998-2002: Organisation of a third cycle on the management of natural resources [ULB in co-operation with the 'Université d'Abomey-Calavi' (Benin); financing: 'Coopération Universitaire Institutionnelle'].
1999-2001: Control of fires in Benin [ULB in co-operation with the 'Université d'Abomey-Calavi' (Benin); financing: 'Commissariat Général aux Relations Internationales de la Communauté Wallonie-Bruxelles'].
1999-2005: Study of the avifauna of the wet zones in the southern part of Benin and of the demographical and ethological features of avian species eligible to be domesticated (Anatidae, Galliformes) [ULg in co-operation with the 'Université Nationale du Bénin'].
2001-2002: 'Approche juridico-politique de la gestion des déchets et de la conservation de la biodiversité au Bénin' [IGEAT (ULB) and CEDRE (FUSL) in co-operation with the 'Université Nationale du Bénin'; financing: 'Conseil Interuniversitaire de la Communauté française'].

Costa Rica
1993-2000: In situ conservation of populations of Phaseolus lunatus [FUSAGx in co-operation with the 'Universidad de Costa Rica' and IPGRI (Italy); financing: DGIC].

Cuba
2002-2005: Biocomplexity and endemic fungal resources in Cuba [FUL, ULg and UCL in co-operation with the 'Instituto de Ecologia y Sistematica' (Cuba)].

Democratic Republic of Congo
2001-2003: The 'Cuvette Centrale' as reservoir of medicinal plants [ULB is associated to this project, executed in co-operation with the 'Institut Pédagogique National de Kinshasa'].

Ecuador
2000-2003: Use of molecular data for the management of the Galapagos giant tortoise populations [ULB in co-operation with the Charles Darwin Research Station, the 'Parque Nacional Galapagos' (Ecuador) and the Yale University (USA)].

Equatorial Guinea
1997-2002: Curef - 'Conservation et utilisation rationnelle des ecosystems forestiers de Guinée Equatoriale' [ULB is associated to this project, executed in co-operation with the National Herbarium of Equatorial Guinea].

Europe (more general)
1999-2005: Comparative phylogeography of forest rodents; phylogeography of specific parasites [ULg in collaboration with the universities of Montpellier (II) and Perpignan and the 'Museu Nacional de Historia Natural' (Portugal); financing: i.a. FNRS].

Madagascar
2000-2001: 'Etude structurelle et fonctionelle du benthos dominant les communautés biotiques associées aux ecosystems coralliens' [UMH in co-operation with the University of Tulear (Madagascar); financing: Fonds de la Recherche Fondamentale Collective - FNRS].
1998-2002: Mariculture of Holothuroidea [UMH in co-operation with the University of Tulear (Madagascar); financing: DGIC].

Morocco
1995-2005: 'Recherche sur les facteurs explicatifs de la biodiversité des auxiliaires (prédateurs et parasitoïdes) en vergers de pommes, en vue de renforcer le contrôle naturel des ravageurs (acariens phytophages et psylles)' [UCL in co-operation with 'l'Ecole Nationale d'Agriculture' (Morocco)].

Papua New Guinea
1985-ongoing: Systematics and ecology of macro-algae, marine vascular plants, lichens and lignicolous Fungi [ULg in co-operation with the University and the Forest Research Institute of Papua New Guinea; financing: 'Fonds de la Recherche Fondamentale Collective' - FNRS].·

Scientific institutions - Federal level: co-operation projects

The National Botanic Garden of Belgium hosted from 1997 onwards the secretariat of AETFAT (Association for the taxonomic study of the flora of tropical Africa / Association pour l'étude taxonomique de la flore d'Afrique tropicale) and organised in August-September 2000 the XVIth AETFAT congress under the overall theme 'Plant systematics and geography for a better understanding of African biodiversity'. A total of two hundred thirty five participants (50% of African countries) attended. The high attendance of African delegates was made possible through international co-operation and an important financial input from DGIC. The congress was preceded and followed by a series of short training courses organised by different Belgian universities for attendants from African countries. The secretariat has recently been transferred to Addis Ababa and gets further technical support from the former Belgian secretariat in organising the next congress in 2003. Currently the proceedings are prepared for publishing.

Since 1997, the National Botanic Garden of Belgium is collaborating with CECODI (a NGO active mainly in the field of sustainable development) in a training and research programme for the use of edible mushrooms. It concerns both the culture of species locally known as being edible and collections in the wild, demonstrating the economic and social value of non timber products of dry forests. The aim of the programme is double: on the one hand the use of 'waste' products of agriculture (as a substrate for mushroom growth) and on the other hand the sustainable use of natural resources (mainly ectomycorrhizal Fungi). The program has a strong ethno-mycological component and is strongly directed to the poorest families (with to limited access to agricultural land) and the training of women. A book on the edible Fungi of Benin, which has its value for the rest of West Africa, will be published in 2001 and is aimed to be distributed within the region at an affordable price.

The department of African Zoology of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA) has bilateral development co-operation projects with African partners in several countries, covering the following fields: ornithology (BirdLife - Cameroon, MUIENR - Uganda, UNIKIS - D.R. Congo, CNDRS - Comoros, UCT - South Africa), entomology and invertebrates (NMK - Kenya, Ivory Coast, SADC region, BEST - D.R. Congo), ichthyology (TAFIRI - Tanzania, Fisheries Dept. - Zambia) and mammalogy (UNIKIS - D.R. Congo). Projects have a general focus on education capacity building (museology) and/or taxonomic expertise support for biodiversity inventories. Specific projects on freshwater biodiversity resources in Africa and South-East Asia involve active co-operation with institutions in the Ivory Coast, Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Vietnam and Indonesia. These projects are inter alia financed by DGIC, the European Union and the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

The Belgian CHM NFP is a partner of the EURODETS initiative, which is currently under development. It involves several European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands) and is co-ordinated by the German CHM NFP. EURODETS, or Nature Detectives on the Internet, aims to support the awareness raising on the Convention on Biological Diversity in Europe and Pan-Europe by combining direct field observations in nature with Internet through visualisation of nature-based observations on maps and through interactive fora.

The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is co-operating in the European Union Project PASCALIS (Protocols for the Assessment and Conservation of Aquatic life in the Subsurface). Object: assessment and conservation of groundwater biodiversity in Europe. Partners: universities and museums in France, Spain, Italy and Slovenia. With respect to the Antarctic Treaty, Belgium co-operates with other parties in the framework of the SCAR programme (Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research - working group Biology). URL: www.scar.org (see also Article 18). Ant'phipoda, another RBINS project on the Antarctic, is a web reference centre on marine biodiversity in the Antarctic, and is devoted to amphipod crustaceans.

The RBINS actively participates in the development of the ENBI initiative (European Network of Biodiversity Information), which is the European Union's contribution to GBIF. It is also a member of ENHSIN (European Natural History Specimen Information Network) and is the co-ordinator of the European network of museums CASTEX.

Under the GEF Pilot Phase, Belgium has co-financed a project called 'Gestion participative des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune' in Burkina Faso/Côte d'Ivoire on participatory management of natural resources.

(14-15) Flanders - Transboundary protected areas for which a common management plan has been developed or is being developed: transboundary Nature Park 'De Zoom-Kalmthoutse Heide', the Scheldt estuary area, Grensmaas (area along the Maas river), Stamprooierbroek. At the coast there is a transboundary management programme in relation to the 'Zwin', and in the coastal area between Duinkerken (France) and Lombardsijde (Flanders). On the basis of a 'transboundary ecological plan' more sites have been identified for the future development of a common policy and management plan (Wallonia: see comments on question 13).

(16) A Belgian research project, LITUS, was developed in the frame of IBOY-DIVERSITAS. Aim of the project is to study interactions of biodiversity, productivity and tourism on European sandy beaches. The project, financed by federal funds, is co-ordinated at the Marine Biology Section (Ghent University).

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