Developing policy for conservation of biodiversity

Integrating management of biological resources
Offering coherent management of biodiversity
Providing integrated management of biodiversity

Developing a systematic agenda of policies and actions that can be adopted at local, national and international levels to protect the world's total stock of genes, species and ecosystems over the long-term while mobilizing its benefits for food, medicines, chemical and other necessities.


Policy sectors concerned and the approach taken vary from country to country in response to the specific characteristics of their biodiversity and relative importance of pressures affecting them. Environment, agriculture, forestry and fisheries policies are generally perceived to have the greatest priority. Science and technology, energy, industry, transport, tourism and recreation, health, education and defence are also considered in many cases.

The Convention on Biological Diversity sets out important new approaches to biodiversity which have yet to be uniformly reflected by national legislation. Underpinning international thinking is the importance of an integrated and holistic approach to biodiversity, which considers the range of political, economic, and ecological levels at which actions need to be targeted, and supports sectoral and cross- sectoral interventions to achieve conservation and sustainable use.


The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at UNCED in 1992 by 160 countries. Ratifying countries are required to identify and monitor their genetic resources and to prepare national plans to protect their biodiversity. Obligations also include conducting environmental impact assessments, inducing public/private cooperation, encouraging training and research. For many developing countries with weak conservation laws the obligations are significant, but it is argued that much will be gained in addition from the establishment of national sovereignty over biodiversity, from increases in present incentives to conserve and use biodiversity, and from the possibility to establish laws protecting a country's biodiversity.

The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy presents an innovative and proactive approach to stop and reverse the degradation of biological and landscape diversity values in Europe. Innovative, because it addresses all biological and landscape initiatives under one European approach. Proactive, because it promotes the integration of biological and landscape diversity considerations into social and economic sectors. The Strategy reinforces the implementation of existing measures and identifies additional actions that need to be taken over the next two decades. The Strategy also provides a framework to promote a consistent approach and common objectives for national and regional action to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Strategy aims are: (1) Threats to Europe's biological and landscape diversity are reduced substantially. (2) Resilience of Europe's biological and landscape diversity is increased. (3) Ecological coherence of Europe as a whole is strengthened. (4) Full public involvement in conservation of biological and landscape diversity is assured.

Strategy objectives are: (1) Conservation, enhancement and restoration of key ecosystems, habitats, species and landscape features through the creation and effective management of the Pan-European Ecological Network. (2) Sustainable management and use of the positive potential of Europe's biological and landscape diversity through making optimum use of the social and economic opportunities on a national and regional level. (3) Integration of biological and landscape diversity conservation and sustainable use objectives into all sectors managing or affecting such diversity. (4) Improved information on and awareness of biological and landscape diversity issues, and increased public participation in actions to conserve and enhance such diversity. (5) Improved understanding of the state of Europe's biological and landscape diversity and the processes that render them sustainable. (6) Assurance of adequate financial means to implement the Strategy.

The World Resources Institute has a research project called Program in Biological Resources and Institutions, including: Implementing the global biodiversity strategy.

In November 1994, the Canadian Council of Environment Ministers embarked on an approvals process for the Canadian Biodiversity Strategy. The five goals of the strategy, based on the principles of the Biodiversity Convention are: (1) To conserve biodiversity and sustainably use biological resources; (2) To improve Canada's understanding of ecosystems and increase Canada's resource management capacity; (3) To promote greater understanding of the need to conserve biodiversity and sustainably use biological resources; (4) To maintain or develop incentives and legislation that support the conservation of biodiversity and sustainable use of biological resources; and (5) To work with other countries to achieve the objectives of the Biodiversity Convention. Within each of the strategy's five goals, more specific measures exist for each government to pursue, including the establishment and management of networks of protected areas and enhanced research efforts.

The European Biodiversity Strategy focuses specifically on the integration of biodiversity concerns into relevant sectoral policies, in particular (1) conservation of natural resources, (2) agriculture, (3) fisheries, (4) regional policies and spatial planning, (5) forests, (6) energy and transports, (7) tourism and (8) development and economic cooperation. It sets out the objectives that these policy areas should pursue in the development of specific sectoral and cross-sectoral Action Plans.

In China, the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) is the lead organisation in implementing a unified supervision and management system for the coordination of national efforts for environmental protection and the conservation of biodiversity nation-wide. The Ministry of Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, the State Administration of Oceanography and the Ministry of Construction are responsible for providing management in their respective areas. The State Planning Commission and the State Science and Technology Commission also have responsibilities for the conservation of biodiversity.


The conservation of biodiversity is often regarded as less important than the short-term economic or social interests of the sectors that influence it most heavily. A major requirement is to incorporate biodiversity concerns into other policy areas.

Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 1: No PovertyGOAL 2: Zero HungerGOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 6: Clean Water and SanitationGOAL 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyGOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and InfrastructureGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 13: Climate ActionGOAL 14: Life Below WaterGOAL 15: Life on LandGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong InstitutionsGOAL 17: Partnerships to achieve the Goal