Texts & Legislations

Key background documents on biodiversity (Strategies, Directives, Regulations and Conventions) at Belgian, European and international levels: 



'Biodiversity 2020' Belgium's National Biodiversity Strategy
The Belgium's National Biodiversity Strategy  spells out a range of 15 priority strategic objectives and 85 operational objectives to guide the development of actions by the competent regional and federal authorities. The Strategy has for general objective to “Contribute nationally and internationally to the achievement of the 2020 target of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services, and restoring them insofar as feasible, while stepping up our contribution to averting global biodiversity loss”. 




The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020
The EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 is in line with two commitments made by EU leaders in March 2010. The first is the 2020 headline target: "Halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services in the EU by 2020, and restoring them in so far as feasible, while stepping up the EU contribution to averting global biodiversity loss"; the second is the 2050 vision: “By 2050, European Union biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides – its natural capital – are protected, valued and appropriately restored for biodiversity's intrinsic value and for their essential contribution to human wellbeing and economic prosperity, and so that catastrophic changes caused by the loss of biodiversity are avoided.”




The EU Birds Directive 
The EU Directive on the conservation of wild birds is the EU’s oldest piece of nature legislation and one of the most important, creating a comprehensive scheme of protection for all wild bird species naturally occurring in the Union. Its was adopted unanimously by the Members States in 1979 as a response to increasing concern about the declines in Europe's wild bird populations resulting from pollution, loss of habitats as well as unsustainable use. It was issued by the European Parliament and the Council of 30 November 2009.



The EU Habitats Directive 

The EU Habitats Directive (together with the Birds Directive) forms the cornerstone of Europe's nature conservation policy. It is built around two pillars: the Natura 2000 network of protected sites and the strict system of species protection. All in all the directive protects over 1.000 animals and plant species and over 200 so called "habitat types" (e.g. special types of forests, meadows, wetlands, etc.), which are of European importance. It was issued by the Council of 21 May 1992.




The EU Water Framework Directive
The EU Water Framework Directive introduces a new legislative approach to managing and protecting water, based not on national or political boundaries but on natural geographical and hydrological formations: river basins. It also requires coordination of different EU policies, and sets out a precise timetable for action, with 2015 as the target date for getting all European waters into good condition. It was issued by the European Parliament and the Council of 23 October 2000. 




The EU Regulation on IAS
The EU Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species entered into force on 1 January 2015. It provides for a set of measures to be taken across the EU in relation to invasive alien species included on a list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. Three distinct types of measures are envisaged, which follow an internationally agreed hierarchical approach to combatting IAS: prevention; early dectection and rapid eradication; management.




The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
Signed by 150 government leaders at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity is dedicated to promoting sustainable development. Conceived as a practical tool for translating the principles of Agenda 21 into reality, the Convention recognizes that biological diversity is about more than plants, animals and micro organisms and their ecosystems – it is about people and our need for food security, medicines, fresh air and water, shelter, and a clean and healthy environment in which to live. 



The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS/ Bonn Convention)
The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (also known as 'CMS' or 'Bonn Convention') aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty, concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme, concerned with the conservation of wildlife and habitats on a global scale. It was issued in Bonn on 23 June 1979.



The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate it requires international cooperation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs. CITES was drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of IUCN. It was issued in Washington DC., United States of America, on 3 March 1973.



The World Heritage Convention
The World Heritage Convention of 1972 defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List. The Convention sets out the duties of States Parties in identifying potential sites and their role in protecting and preserving them. By signing the Convention, each country pledges to conserve not only the World Heritage sites situated on its territory, but also to protect its national heritage. The States Parties are encouraged to integrate the protection of the cultural and natural heritage into regional planning programmes, set up staff and services at their sites, undertake scientific and technical conservation research and adopt measures which give this heritage a function in the day-to-day life of the community. 


The Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention)
The Convention on Wetlands -called the "Ramsar Convention"- is an intergovernmental treaty that embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the "wise use", or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories. Unlike the other global environmental conventions, Ramsar is not affiliated with the United Nations system of Multilateral Environmental Agreements, but it works very closely with the other MEAs and is a full partner among the "biodiversity-related cluster" of treaties and agreements. It was issued in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.


The Bouchout Declaration 
The purpose of the Bouchout Declaration is to help make digital data about our biodiversity openly available. It offers members of the biodiversity community a way to demonstrate their commitment to open science.