Ecosystems and the processes that disrupt their functioning often extend across national boundaries. Isolated measures taken within a local, regional or national context will therefore in many cases be inadequate to deal with the problems. Working within an international framework provides the opportunity to take more effective measures by facilitating the development of a common approach to the conservation of biodiversity and by helping to promote coordinated action.
Ecosystems with significant biological diversity and landscape value - mountain ranges, rivers, lakes, wetlands, coastal and marine areas - often act as a natural border between countries.
The importance of assessments and of international exchange of information for achieving the objectives of the CBD is underlined by the cross-border nature of many ecological processes, the interdependence between ecosystems, the migratory behaviour of various wild species, the need for international collaboration to maintain genetic pools of crop varieties and domestic animal breeds as well as the cross-border nature of many pressures and threats affecting biodiversity. The strengthening of cross-border co-ordination between Parties to the CBD, on a bilateral or regional basis, is therefore an important objective.
In 1995, 54 countries endorsed the [Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy] (PEBLDS). In doing so, the governments of the countries recognised the special need for international cooperation in efforts to conserve biodiversity and landscapes of European importance. The purpose of the the [Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy] is to circulate information about implementation of the Strategy's various action themes in states, international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The Council of the PEBLDS (STRA-CO) meets once a year to review the progress achieved in the implementation of the PEBLDS Action Plan and identify additional actions to be taken.
The [Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats] provides a European framework for the protection of species and important natural areas.
The [European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities] (Madrid, 1980) as well as its Additional Protocol (Strasbourg, 1995) and its Protocol No. 2 concerning Inter-territorial Co-operation (Strasbourg, 1998), supports the conservation of transfrontier and inter-territorial ecological sites. It takes into account in particular the Model agreements on the creation and management of transfrontier parks and on the creation and management of transfrontier rural parks (1.9 and 2.9), the Model agreements on the creation and management of transfrontier parks and on the creation and management of transfrontier rural parks (1.10 and 2.10) and the Model agreement on the creation and management of transfrontier parks between private law associations (2.11).
The [European Biodiversity Strategy], adopted in 1998, considers the objectives of the [Convention on Biological Diversity] in the horizontal areas of a) conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, b) sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources, c) research, identification, monitoring and exchange of information and d) education, training and awareness. For these areas, the strategy sets 46 objectives aiming at conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity outside of protected areas. Some of the objectives proposed include the promotion of eco-labeling schemes based on life cycle analysis for products whose production, distribution, use or disposal could affect biodiversity, and the focus on contributing to the social and economic viability of systems supporting biodiversity as well as to the removal of incentives with perverse effects on the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The strategy further aims to anticipate, prevent and attack the causes of significant reduction or loss of biological diversity both within and beyond the territory of the European Union. Within the framework of the [European Biodiversity Strategy], action plans are being developed for conservation of natural resources, agriculture, fisheries, regional policies and spatial planning, development and economic cooperation.
Countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and the Newly Independent States (NIS) constitute a group which regularly discusses regional aspects of the implementation of the CBD and related issues. Three CEE/NIS regional meetings (Bulgaria 1995, Slovak Republic 1996 and Kazakhstan 1998) were held under the auspices of UNEP and the Secretariat of the CBD as preparations for the Conference of Parties (COP) to the CBD.
The [Danube River Basin Programme], largely funded through the EU Phare programme, involving basin states with the objective of environmental monitoring and improvement; together with other initiatives like the [Black Sea Regional Programme] and the [Baltic Sea Programme] demonstrate the importance of cross-border cooperation when ecosystems and natural habitats are divided by borders.