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Frequently Asked Questions

What is an NBSAP?

National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are the principal instruments for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity at the national level. The Convention requires countries to prepare a national biodiversity strategy (or equivalent instrument) and to ensure that this strategy is mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity.

Article 6 of the Convention, on General Measures for Conservation and Sustainable Use, states that each Contracting Party shall, in accordance with its particular conditions and capabilities:

  • Develop national strategies, plans or programmes for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity or adapt for this purpose existing strategies, plans or programmes which shall reflect, inter alia, the measures set out in this Convention relevant to the Contracting Party concerned;
  • Integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies.

What elements should be in an NBSAP?

An NBSAP that fully addresses the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and that fulfills the aims of the Convention, should include a variety of elements (see also the peer review framework for NBSAPs):

Key background information:

  1. The values of biodiversity and ecosystem services in the country and their contribution to human well-being (e.g., the value of biodiversity to food security, water security, livelihoods, disaster risk reduction, employment and other key sustainable development goals), including a spatial analysis of critical ecosystems
  2. Analysis of the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss
  3. National constitutional, legal and institutional framework, including a review of laws, expenditures, incentives, subsidies and other policy frameworks
  4. Lessons learned from the earlier NBSAP(s) and the process of developing the updated NBSAP
  5. Analyses of areas under sustainable management, levels of sustainable production and consumption, extent and effectiveness of protection, and critical needs for restoration.
  6. Opportunities and timelines for linking the NBSAP to key sectoral plans and policies

National Biodiversity Strategy: Principles, Priorities and Targets

  1. Long-term vision
  2. Principles governing the strategy
  3. Main goals or priority areas
  4. National Targets (SMART)

National Action Plan

  1. National actions to achieve the strategy, with milestones, responsibilities and time frames
  2. Application of the NBSAP to sub-national entities
  3. Strategies and actions to mainstream biodiversity into development, poverty reduction, natural resource management plans, and climate change plans (among other sectoral plans)
  4. Strategies and actions to increase and/or improve protection, to protect genetic diversity and to avoid extinctions
  5. Strategies and actions to safeguard, restore and increase resilience of critical ecosystem services

Implementation Plans

  1. A plan for implementation that includes key priorities, actors, responsibilities, timelines
  2. A plan for resource mobilization for NBSAP implementation
  3. A communication, education and public awareness plan
  4. A capacity development plan

Institutional, Monitoring and Reporting

  1. National Coordination Structures
  2. Clearing-House Mechanism
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation

Is an NBSAP always just one document?

Although the NBSAP can take the form of a single biodiversity-planning document (and many countries have chosen this form), this does not necessarily have to be the case. The NBSAP can also consist of several different ‘stand alone’ elements that work in a complementary fashion to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity in the country – for example: laws and administrative procedures; scientific research agendas; programmes and projects; communication, education and public awareness activities; forums for inter-ministerial and multi-stakeholder dialogue. These together provide the means to meet the three objectives of the Convention, thereby forming the basis for national implementation. These elements may be brought together and made available on a web site (which could form part of the national Clearing House Mechanism). Second generation, or revised NBSAPs have tended to be more in line with this broader definition; they resemble more a planning process, than a fixed document. Such a planning process is equally relevant to the other biodiversity-related conventions and agreements.

Who should be involved in preparing the NBSAP?

It is important to involve a non-government organizations, academics, local and indigenous communities, research institutes, variety of different groups in the revision process. These may include: specialists in each of the subjects and issues addressed by the NBSAP, national and local government (including representation from ministries other than environment), focal points of other biodiversity-related Conventions, and private sector representatives.

Is the NBSAP only relevant to the CBD?

It is important to involve a non-government organizations, academics, local and indigenous communities, research institutes, variety of different groups in the revision process. These may include: specialists in each of the subjects and issues addressed by the NBSAP, national and local government (including representation from ministries other than environment), focal points of other biodiversity-related Conventions, and private sector representatives.

What is biodiversity mainstreaming?

Article 6b of the Convention on Biological Diversity requires parties to “integrate, as far as possible and as appropriate, the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies.” The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011 -2020 urges countries to ensure that their national biodiversity strategy contains elements that are incorporated into the planning and activities of all those sectors whose activities can have an impact (positive and negative) on biodiversity.

Biodiversity mainstreaming is defined as the integration of biodiversity concerns into sectoral and cross sectoral strategies, plans and programmes, through a variety of approaches and mechanisms, so as to achieve sustainable biodiversity and development outcomes. For more information about mainstreaming, see also the NBSAP Forum thematic page on the topic, and a brief guide by UNEP/WCMC, IIED and UNDP.

Where can I view other countries’ NBSAPs?

You can view submitted NBSAPs on the CBD website, at http://www.cbd.int/nbsap/search/default.shtml

What is the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020?

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 was adopted in CBD COP decision X/2. The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to promote effective implementation of the Convention through a strategic approach, comprising a shared vision, a mission and 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets organized under 5 Strategic Goals. This Strategic Plan for Biodiversity provides a flexible framework for Parties to use when setting their own national targets.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity represents an overarching framework not only for the biodiversity-related conventions but for the entire United Nations system.

Why are Parties revising NBSAPs?

Parties are revising their NBSAPs to bring them into line with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

In COP decision X/2, Parties were urged to:

“Review, and as appropriate update and revise, their national biodiversity strategies and action plans, in line with the Strategic Plan and the guidance adopted in decision IX/9, including by integrating their national targets into their national biodiversity strategies and action plans, adopted as a policy instrument, and report thereon to the Conference of the Parties at its eleventh or twelfth meeting”

This request is also incorporated as Aichi Biodiversity Target 17:

“By 2015, each Party has developed, adopted as a policy instrument, and has commenced implementing an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan.”

What is the timeline for revising NBSAPs?

Parties are due to have adopted their revised NBSAPs as policy instruments by 2015, following which the period of NBSAP implementation will begin. Fifth National Reports to the CBD are due in March 2014, and this should involve many of the same stakeholders as the NBSAP updating process. Information from the 5th National Reports will contribute to the development of the fourth edition of the Global Biodiversity Outlook, and will provide an important source of information on progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.

What are the steps of NBSAP updating?

The suggested steps for revising NBSAPs are below. These are intended as a guide.

  1. Getting organized
    • Organizing logistics (schedule, resources for revision process, NBSAP coordinator and team, multi-sectoral advisory committee, team information and data management)
    • Taking stock (review existing/previous NBSAP, identify guidelines for biodiversity assessment)
  2. Engaging and communicating with stakeholders (ongoing)
    • Identify relevant stakeholders and rights holders, conduct stakeholder analysis and mapping , engagement of stakeholders throughout the process
    • Develop a tailored communication and outreach plan for the different steps of the NBSAP process
  3. Gathering information
    • Status and trends of biodiversity and ecosystem services (spatial data on ecological status, threat status, protection and conservation management status, drivers of loss)
    • Linkages between biodiversity and society (poverty, development and human wellbeing; key ecosystem services, values of biodiversity )
    • Legal, institutional and policy environment (relevant biodiversity laws, policies, management practices; existing organizations, institutions and capacities; ongoing initiatives; and opportunities for mainstreaming)
    • Biodiversity finance (amounts and sources of existing biodiversity expenditures, relevant positive and negative/perverse incentives and subsidies)
    • Status of public awareness (of biodiversity and its values)
    • Knowledge gaps
  4. Developing strategies and actions
    • Establishing national vision, principles, and priorities for biodiversity
    • Setting national targets (and potential indicators)
    • Identify specific strategies (to achieve national targets and the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity)
  5. Developing implementation and resource mobilization plans
    • Outline and prioritize specific actions to be taken to implement the strategy (key actors, timelines, resources)
    • Develop resource mobilization plan
    • Ensure strategies and actions are fully incorporated into national policies, frameworks, laws and budgets
    • Finalize indicator set and develop monitoring plan for all targets and associated actions
    • Develop plan for Clearinghouse Mechanism
  6. Implementing the NBSAP
    • Engage stakeholders in the implementation of agreed strategies and actions
    • Implement specific NBSAP strategies and actions
    • Mobilize domestic and international financial resources
  7. Monitoring and reporting
    • Develop h National Report
    • Communicate results of implementation broadly
    • Review and adapt priorities within the NBSAP periodically, based on monitoring indicators

Who are the Partners of the NBSAP Forum?

The NBSAP Forum is hosted by the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Environment Programme. A number of other organizations have joined the Forum as Partners, and new partners are always welcome. For more information click here.

Who are the members of the NBSAP Forum?

Members of the NBSAP Forum are individuals or organisations from around the world who are involved in updating their country’s NBSAP, and/or who are able to offer support and expertise to those preparing their NBSAP.

How can I ask for help around NBSAPs?

If you have a question around NBSAPs and you can’t find the answer on this website you could either pose the question in a forum or you can email the NBSAP Forum Helpdesk on Helpdesk@nbsapforum.net

How are Sustainable Development Goals related to NBSAPs?

The 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are consistent with the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity; the implementation of one contributes to the achievement of the other. The collective impact of the contribution of NBSAPs toward fulfilling SDGs is beginning to emerge. The impact of NBSAPs extends far beyond Goal 14 (Life below Water) and Goal 15 (Life on Land); each NBSAP action is capable of contributing to multiple development goals. NBSAPs adopted as policy instruments can provide a ready pathway to accelerate implementation of SDGs. Investing in biodiversity and ecosystems through NBSAP action also ensures that no one is left behind in the implementation of the SDGs.