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Folder Biodiversity policy of the Netherlands 1994-2007

The Netherlands ratified the Convention on Biodiversity in 1994 and has implemented it through various policy programmes and legislation. Its national policy has been fleshed out in a series of nature policy documents, national environmental policy plans and the development cooperation policy,12 and described in such documents as ‘Strategic Action Plan for Biodiversity' (1995), 'Nature for People, People for Nature (policy document for nature, forest and landscape in the 21st century; 2000)', ‘Sources of existence' (2002), the ‘International Policy Programme on Biodiversity' 2002-2006 (BBI, 2002), the ‘Multi-Year Programme on Defragmentation' (2004, in Dutch), the ‘Policy Letter on Agrobiodiversity' (2004, in Dutch), the Policy Note on Invasive Alien Species (2007, in Dutch) and the policy strategy document 'The habitats approach: a new policy strategy for species' (2007, in Dutch).

One of the Netherlands' aims is to protect biodiversity with a view to preserving species, populations and habitats. This involves setting ambitious targets when implementing national and European agreements (for example, the Birds Directive and the Habitat Directive) and taking an energetic approach to improving environmental conditions and water quality, which in many places in the Netherlands fall below the standard required to guarantee the preservation of biodiversity. Another aim is to help affect the transition to the sustainable use of natural resources, biodiversity conservation and the integration of biodiversity in economic sectors. Sustainable use of biodiversity in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and other sectors in the Netherlands will not only help conserve biodiversity but also create numerous economic opportunities. Finally, there are area-specific measures and the fair distribution of the costs and benefits of restoring biodiversity, for example though the Netherlands' landscape policy .

Parallel to the BBI, the transition programme for the ‘Preservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources' (part of the fourth National Environmental Policy Plan, NEPP 4) has concentrated since 2001 on supporting and facilitating the underlying social change processes. The transition programme, supervised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, consists of a long-term process of identifying, in association with the business community, non-governmental organisations and other ministries, promising developments for effective biodiversity policy. The programme could help set the agenda and provide material for the BBI and its specific projects. An evaluation of the transition programme in 2006 concluded that its approach and focus were good but that it did not have the necessary scale to achieve its ambitions. That is why the implementation of the present policy programme and the work of the ‘Biodiversity and natural resources' task force will include a new working programme for the transition, covering both substance and organisation.

The final relevant document is the ‘Future Agenda for the Environment'. This programme sets out a number of specific actions designed to contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and natural resources. One of its key features is the involvement of the authorities, the business community and non-governmental organisations.