What is the NBSAP?
The National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) is a national policy, which aims at providing strategic direction at a national level on the management and protection of biodiversity. It also streamlines various sectoral aspects to ensure sustainable use of natural resources; this ensures a better quality of life and the reduction in biodiversity loss.
The NBSAP is the principal instrument for implementing the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at national level. As required by the Convention, each signatory country (known as a Party) has to develop an NBSAP or equivalent instrument, in accordance with its particular conditions and capabilities. This creates an obligation for Parties to carry out national biodiversity planning, and defining a course of action with specific targets and plans to fulfil the objectives of the Convention. In this context. NBSAPs are considered as one of the strongest implementation mechanisms in the CBD.
Furthermore, the Convention requires each Party to ensure that its respective NBSAP is mainstreamed into the planning and activities of all those sectors that can have a positive or negative impact on biodiversity. In terms of overall NBSAP submission to date (latest figure as of 10 January 2019), a total of 190 out of 196 (97%) Parties have developed NBSAPs in line with Article 6 of the Convention.
Main actions & measures
The main actions and measures are summarised here.
What is being done to counteract biodiversity loss?
Malta’s NBSAP has been given the theme “Working hand-in-hand with Nature”, and a long-term vision that “All Maltese citizens will value the importance of Malta’s biodiversity and work hand-in-hand with nature in their daily lives. Efforts aimed at sustainable and more resource-efficient choices and actions by local communities and relevant sectors have contributed to a significant improvement in the status of Malta’s biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, for the well-being of present and future generations”.
How will the NBSAP help safeguard local biodiversity?
The main purpose of the NBSAP is to serve as a national policy driver to integrate biodiversity concerns into relevant sectoral or cross-sectoral plans, programmes and policies, especially those that can have a bearing on Malta’s biological and natural resources. To achieve this, the document proposes:
- 19 national targets – to be achieved by 2020;
- Strategic directions – seen as pre-requisites for reaching the targets, and;
- A suite of focused action and outcome-oriented measures – grouped under the following 18 thematic areas:
|· Theme 1||–||Genetic resources & diversity|
|· Theme 2||–||Species & habitats|
|· Theme 3||–||Ecological network of protected areas|
|· Theme 4||–||Biological introductions|
|· Theme 5||–||Sustainable use of biological resources|
|· Theme 6||–||Sustainable use of natural resources: Soil, water & land|
|· Theme 7||–||Climate change|
|· Theme 8||–||Pro-biodiversity businesses & a green economy|
|· Theme 9||–||Financing biodiversity|
|· Theme 10||–||Communication, education & public awareness|
|· Theme 11||–||Participatory conservation|
|· Theme 12||–||Enforcement|
|· Theme 13||–||Environmental assessment|
|· Theme 14||–||Research & development|
|· Theme 15||–||Biodiversity monitoring|
|· Theme 16||–||Networking & information exchange|
|· Theme 17||–||Capacity building|
|· Theme 18||–||Other sectoral integration|
The achievement of these targets necessitated broad participation and collective action in order to secure implementation of the proposed measures as set out in the NBSAP. While reflecting national priorities for biodiversity, these targets are also complementary to the 2020 global Aichi targets. The latter are defined in the Strategic Plan under the framework of the CBD, as well as the targets defined in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. By doing so, Malta’s NBSAP shall contribute towards halting and reversing the trend in global biodiversity loss.
Refining the NBSAP
Malta’s NBSAP was built on a stocktaking exercise, which was done in consultation with relevant Ministries. This approach was adopted in order to identify further opportunities and areas of work to secure progress towards reaching:
- National goals for the environment, and;
- The 2020 global and EU targets on biodiversity.
Despite having been adopted, the NBSAP development process does not halt. The implementation phase is ongoing, during which the collaboration of all relevant stakeholders is crucial to translate the NBSAP’s measures into actions. Indeed, the NBSAP targets will only be achieved by securing broad participation, ownership, commitment, and collective action at the national and local levels. Through its implementation, the NBSAP will help to mainstream efforts to set Malta on the right track to improve the status of its biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and to strengthen the integration of biodiversity concerns across relevant sectors.