Third National Report of Belgium
to the Convention on Biological Diversity


E. OPERATIONS OF THE CONVENTION

202. Has your country actively participated in subregional and regional activities in order to prepare for Convention meetings and enhance implementation of the Convention? (decision V/20)
a) No
b) Yes (please provide details below) X

Further comments on the regional and subregional activities in which your country has been involved.

In preparation of the Conferences of the Parties:

  • 2002, Budapest (Hungary), Preparation of COP-6, 2nd Conference 'Biodiversity in Europe';
  • 2004, Madrid (Spain), Preparation of COP-7, 3rd Conference 'Biodiversity in Europe'.

In preparation of SBSTTA's:

  • 2003, Vilm (Germany), preparation of SBSTTA-8 and 9;
  • 2004, Vlim (Germany) preparation of SBSTTA-10.

GTI: 2004, Vilm (Germany), European Global Taxonomy Initiative (GTI) Workshop.

Indicators:

  • 2002, Nice (France), EIONET Workshop on indicators;
  • 2003, Copenhagen (Denmark), Workshop on 'EEA core set of environmental indicators: biodiversity';
  • 2004, Copenhagen (Denmark), EEA Joint meeting on biodiversity indicators.

CHM:

  • European regional meetings: 2002, Copenhagen (Denmark), EC CHM meeting; 2003, Prague (Czech Republic), EC CHM/CBD CHM joint meeting for Central and Eastern Europe; 2003, Copenhagen (Denmark), Training Workshop European CHM Portal Toolkit; 2004, Copenhagen (Denmark), EC CHM meeting;
  • African regional meetings: 2003, Nairobi (Keyna), Africa Regional Meeting on the Clearing-House Mechanism; 2003, Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), sub-regional CHM workshop for former CHM webmaster trainees;
  • Mediterranean: 2003, Tunis (Tunisia), regional CHM meeting.

203. Is your country strengthening regional and subregional cooperation, enhancing integration and promoting synergies with relevant regional and subregional processes? (decision VI/27 B)
a) No
b) Yes (please provide details below) X

Further comments on regional and subregional cooperation and processes.

Apart from the cooperation at EU level, can be mentioned:

  • money donated to the Secretariat to organise regional meetings on the CHM in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Belgium also organised two workshops in Africa to further technical and scientific cooperation, Ouagadougou 2003 and Bujumbura 2005;
  • Belgium is a member and takes an active part to various regional agreements (Bern, AEWA, ASCOBANS, EUROBATS, OSPAR, LANDSCAPE, MCPFE, PEBLDS, EU Birds directive, EU Habitats directive, EU Regulation on CITES, Benelux Convention, EPBRS, EEA/EIONET). One single Focal Point (either one Region or the Federal) has been designated to coordinate sharing of information for these agreements (see contact points in Belgium on the B CHM website at the following URL: http://bch-cbd.naturalsciences.be/belgium/biodiversity/contactpoints/contact_points.htm).

The following question (204) is for DEVELOPED COUNTRIES
204. Is your country supporting the work of existing regional coordination mechanisms and the development of regional and subregional networks or processes? (decision VI/27 B)
a) No
b) No, but programmes are under development
c) Yes, included in existing cooperation frameworks (please provide details below)
d) Yes, some cooperative activities ongoing (please provide details below) X

Further comments on support for the work of existing regional coordination mechanisms and the development of regional and subregional networks or processes.

GTI: Belgium is one of the leading partners in the development of a European project on taxonomy called 'Toward a European Distributed Institute in Taxonomy' (EDIT). In addition to EU funding, each country will contribute with its own funds.

CHM: Belgium has worked together with the following sub-regional networks to promote the exchange of information and technical and scientific cooperation:

  • South Asian Co-operative Environment Programme: project development for a regional Clearing-House Mechanism, training of the coordinator and technical advice;
  • 'Commission des Ministres en charge des Forêts en Afrique Centrale (COMIFAC)': capacity building for networking, development of the corporate website and technical advice;
  • the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas in the Mediterranean: project development and technical advice for the development of a regional CHM on protected areas.

Some other networks supported by Belgian Development Cooperation:

  • Belgium recently started four new bilateral cooperation programmes specifically aimed at promoting sustainable development around protected areas (Tanzania, Uganda, Peru, Ecuador);
  • steering increased means to improving forest sector governance and environmental governance in the DR of Congo, through both multilateral and bilateral channels;
  • financial contribution to UNEP to support the implementation of MEA's and the integration of environment in PRSPs in partner developing countries has been significantly increased for the time frame 2004-2007.

Belgium funded various projects to improve synergies among MEA's in general, biodiversity related conventions and Rio conventions:

  • UNEP projects to promote synergetic implementation of multiple related MEA's (2004-2005);
  • partnership for the development of environmental law (Africa);
  • implementation of guidelines on enforcement and compliance with MEA's (global);
  • capacity building programme for the integration and institutionalisation of environmental management into national poverty reduction programmes and related activities (2004-2007);
  • UNEP project on issue-based modules funded in 2002 (running in 2005-2006);
  • UNEP project on harmonisation of reporting among biodiversity conventions;
  • Belgium organised a side-event on synergies jointly with Italy during SBSTA-20 of UNFCCC (Bonn 2004).

205. Is your country working with other Parties to strengthen the existing regional and subregional mechanisms and initiatives for capacity-building? (decision VI/27 B)
a) No
b) Yes X

206. Has your country contributed to the assessment of the regional and subregional mechanisms for implementation of the Convention? (decision VI/27 B)
a) No
b) Yes (please provide details below) X

Further comments on contribution to the assessment of the regional and subregional mechanisms.

Belgium contributed among others to the revision of the EU biodiversity strategy in 2004 (Malahide).

Box LXXIV.
Please elaborate below on the implementation of the above decisions specifically focusing on:

a) outcomes and impacts of actions taken;
b) contribution to the achievement of the goals of the Strategic Plan of the Convention;
c) contribution to progress towards the 2010 target;
d) progress in implementing national biodiversity strategies and action plans;
e) contribution to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals;
f) constraints encountered in implementation.

The Flemish Region initiated, organised and co-financed a workshop for the harmonisation and streamlining of biodiversity reporting under different MEA's.

On the 2010 target: a new nature indicators website has been launched recently and gives information on the status and trend of the indicators included in the MINA-plan and the indicators that were adopted at EU level for biodiversity: http://www.natuurindicatoren.be

Belgian Clearing-House Mechanism:

a) outcomes and impacts: Belgium first developed its capacity building activities on a bilateral basis. Working with parties involved training in Belgium and in-country follow-up. After a few years, this has led to the organisation of a regional workshop in 2003 and a regional training session for webmasters in 2004, both in Africa. Two more are planned for 2005, also in Africa. Cooperation between countries for the CHM is growing. The impacts of Belgium's programme are multiple: 

i) involvement of different partners in organising a given activity (e.g. Belgium-SCBD; Belgium-NL and probably Belgium-SCBD-FR in 2005); 
ii) development of network of former CHM trainees in Africa and 
iii) recommendations for the establishment of a regional CHM in Africa.

b) Strategic Plan: Belgium's activities directly contribute to Goal 2 'Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical, and technological capacity to implement the Convention'.c) 2010 Target: effects are indirect.

d) NBSAPs: Belgium's activities contribute to help implement NBSAPs of partner countries. 

e) MDG: idem as point b) and therefore an indirect contribution to Goal 7 'Ensure environmental sustainability'.

f) constraints: the demand for capacity building exceeds what Belgium can currently offer. Training and capacity building requires an important investment in human and financial resources. For this reason, Belgian CHM activities focus mainly on working with African partners while many requests also arise from Asian countries.

Belgian GTI National Focal Point:

a) outcomes and impacts: Belgium's capacity building programme started in 2004. Belgium not only offers training in Belgium, but also participates in in-situ research and training projects and the organisation of regional training sessions. It is yet too early to discuss the impacts of the programme, but the interest has been overwhelming, and demands from countries are numerous. 

b) Strategic Plan: Belgium's activities directly contribute to Goal 2 'Parties have improved financial, human, scientific, technical, and technological capacity to implement the Convention'.

c) 2010 Target: a better knowledge of biodiversity is essential to implement the 2010 target. Taxonomy is fundamental to acquire this knowledge. Since there is a huge taxonomic impediment worldwide, any contribution to the training of new taxonomists has direct impact on the implementation of the 2010 target.

d) NBSAPs: Belgium's activities contribute to help implement NBSAPs of partner countries. 

e) MDG: idem as points b) and c) and therefore a direct contribution to Goal 7 'Ensure environmental sustainability'.

f) constraints: as for the CHM, the demand for capacity building exceeds what Belgium can currently offer. Training and capacity building requires an important investment in human and financial resources.

F. COMMENTS ON THE FORMAT

Box LXXV.
Please provide below recommendations on how to improve this reporting format.

  • the reporting format makes it extremely difficult for countries with multiple levels of authorities and an institutional fragmentation of competences to fill in the report adequately. The fact that only an 'x' (no other signs) is allowed in the appropriate case(s) constitutes an extra burden;
  • questions are often too vague, difficult to interpret and to answer in a concise and efficient manner;
  • together with the high number of questions, the nature of a number of questions and boxes (for example the boxes at the end of each article) ask for many data and answers, making the burden to report very heavy;
  • the redundancy of questions is annoying. This redundancy includes similar questions within this report, or questions already answered in the second national report or in thematic reports;
  • the heavy burden of work: during office hours only, filling in the report took approximately 120 person/days, equalling more than half a year office work of one full time senior officer. When taking evening and weekend work into account, this increases to more than nine months;
  • as a response to all difficulties mentioned above, and in order to reduce the reporting burden, Belgium strongly supports (i) a shortened format for national reporting and (ii) decisions to harmonise national reporting of biodiversity-related treaties.

 

 
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Last updated  14-09-2005


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