Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) need access to reliable scientific data in order to meet internationally-agreed biodiversity targets and produce national strategies and action plans. BirdLife has developed a range of biodiversity indicators based on bird data that can help policy-makers set, meet, and monitor national biodiversity targets. Much of this information is made available through BirdLife’s Data Zone—an online repository of high-quality information on birds, biodiversity and sites critical to conservation.
In 2010, Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Aichi, Japan, adopted a new Strategic Plan for 2011–2020 with 20 ambitious ‘Aichi Biodiversity Targets’ to be meet by 2020. Countries are being encouraged to revise and/or update their national strategies and associated action plans in order to reflect the new goals of the global Plan. These National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) are intended as the framework guidance for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use at the national level.
For many countries, the task of developing NBSAPs is hampered by a lack of accurate biodiversity information. The World Bird Database, maintained by BirdLife, provides an authoritative source of high-quality data, amassed by a global conservation partnership of over 115 leading national organisations. This information is made freely available to governments and other users through BirdLife’s online Data Zone.
Birds are very relevant to the revision and implementation of NBSAPs. They are better known than any other comparable group of organisms, and we have unparalleled information about which species are the closest to extinction, the threats they face, the actions needed and the critical sites (Important Bird Areas) that must be safeguarded. These data can help to focus and target actions to tackle biodiversity loss. Furthermore, as birds are sensitive to environmental change, popular to watch, and relatively easy to monitor, indicators based on bird data are very useful for tracking progress in addressing the biodiversity crisis.
BirdLife has developed biodiversity indicators based on bird data that are increasingly being used by policy makers to help set, meet, and monitor national biodiversity targets. For example, the Red List Index, which was pioneered using bird data, is now recognised as a practical and quantitative way to assess society’s success or failure in preventing extinctions. Similarly, Wild Bird Indices are used by many governments to monitor the degree to which development is sustainable. For example, the UK government has adopted ‘Sustainable Development Indicators’ that include bird population trends alongside measures of, for example, levels of poverty and healthy lifespans.
In 2012, ahead of the 11th Conference of the Parties to the CBD, BirdLife published a booklet outlining how bird data can help national and local governments achieve the Convention’s biodiversity targets. It provides detailed information on 18 of the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets of the CBD’s Strategic Plan and explains how this information can be incorporated into NBSAPs. The booklet collates more than forty examples of how the BirdLife Partnership has already been successfully contributing to efforts to achieve the Aichi Targets, from local to national projects and from on the ground actions to policy interventions.
BirdLife Partners have a good track record in helping to develop and implement national plans. For instance, both Grupo Jaragua in the Dominican Republic and Nature Kenya in Kenya have considerable experience of working with their respective governments. The emphasis on mainstreaming biodiversity across a range of sectors and cross-sectoral policies has been an important part of the support at national level. At the global level, BirdLife is the International Thematic Focal Point for Birds for the Clearing House Mechanism of the CBD.
The BirdLife Data zone provides access to a wealth of scientific data, including authoritative and up-to-date information on the world’s bird species and the sites critical to their conservation. Through the Country Profile section, this data can be viewed separately for every country and territory in the world.
State of the world’s birds, of which this case study is part, provides in-depth case studies that detail how bird data can be used to monitor change and set conservation priorities, and highlights successful conservation approaches.
For more information on how this information can aid CBD implementation click here.
BirdLife International (2012) BirdLife’s datasets help governments to implement National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/514. Checked: 25/05/2013
|Key message: Turning paper commitments into action|