Biodiversity Policy Programme 2008-2011
This section describes the policy programme ‘Biodiversity works: for nature, for people, forever', which sets out the Dutch government's priorities in addressing the biodiversity loss and promoting the sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources in the years 2008-2011. Cooperation between ministries and with other authorities and actors in civil society is a key feature of this policy. Its intention is to tighten the focus of the current efforts to protect biodiversity. It also sets out the Dutch government's policy response to various signals from the scientific community and society.
At global level, the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment has revealed a growing and serious threat to biodiversity and related ecosystem services. As a result, the global Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) may not be met. The MA calls for an ambitious policy with more scope for marketdriven instruments. The fourth Assessment Report (2007) by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) states that climate change is already having a visible impact on biodiversity. A further rise in temperatures by 2-3 degrees would put around 20 to 30% of all species of plants and animals at risk of extinction.
Meanwhile, in 2006 the European Commission has published a Communication and Action Plan on the retention and sustainable use of biodiversity (2006). In it, member states were invited to transpose the Action Plan into national policy. At national level, the IUCN National Committee of the Netherlands (IUCN-NL) also presented a ten-point plan describing the steps it feels are needed to halt the loss of national and international biodiversity. These documents provided a frame of reference and a source of inspiration for the Dutch government's policy programme.
This policy programme also explains what the Dutch government will do to halt biodiversity loss within the EU by 2010, an objective defined by the European Union. At the same time, the government has taken careful note of the European Commission's concern that ‘member states have undertaken steps to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010', but that ‘it is unlikely that this objective will be achieved'. Given the current numbers of species on so-called red lists and our patterns of production and consumption, the government shares this concern for the Netherlands. It is obvious that even after 2010 the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity will remain a serious, ever more urgent policy challenge. The criteria for sustainability will have to be constantly reassessed against the latest scientific and other insights. The Dutch government has decided to ask the Biodiversity and Natural Resources Task Force to publish an advisory opinion on the steps the Netherlands must take in the period after 2010 and to propose verifiable objectives and targets.
The policy programme ‘Biodiversity works: for nature, for people forever also marks the government's efforts to put the third pillar of its coalition agreement into practice:"a sustainable environment to leave the world better than we found it'". The Dutch government realises that its policy efforts will only have an effect if changes are accepted by the Dutch society and beyond. The government's policy programme ‘Working together, living together' took the first step in this direction by announcing the creation of a task force on ‘biodiversity and natural resources'. The government wishes to use this policy programme to reinforce public commitment to the preservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. One important point is to highlight and increase public awareness of the value and function of biodiversity for humans. This is therefore an important objective for communication and education about biodiversity. The Dutch government also wants to further align a number of priority themes and improve cooperation between the different ministries on these points; it therefore invites other public authorities, companies and non-governmental organisations to contribute to achieving the goals set in these priority areas. The priorities are interwoven with regular activities that will be continued within the existing national and international governance frameworks.