Four federal sectors
Various federal departments play a significant role with regard to biodiversity. Mobility is a prime case in point. Boats, trains and lorries carry exotic species – often unknowingly – that are a potential threat to our local flora and fauna. Another example is CO2 emissions from vehicles, contributing to global warming. One of the many solutions aimed at reducing the impact of these changes is Biofuel (HTML) . However, large bio-energy plantations could have a dramatic effect when they replace ecosystems with a rich biodiversity. It is therefore vital to reinforce the synergies between biodiversity and the struggle to combat climate change.
The DG Environment has decided to make the first move. Its objective: to integrate more biodiversity issues into the policies of the federal authorities.
In particular, it is focusing on four key federal sectors: transport, science policy, development projects, and the economy.
Four federal areas of work
How can these concerns about biodiversity be successfully related to areas as diverse as transport, science policy, development projects or the economy?
Together with those involved in the relevant sectors, the experts at the DG Environment are working on identifying concrete actions for integrating biodiversity. In 2008, four action plans for integrating biodiversity will be produced jointly with the federal administrative bodies for the sectors concerned.
For transport, the main enemies are invasive exotic species. Improved checks on imports and exports should reduce the presence of undesirable threats to the flora and fauna in Belgium.
For further information on federal transport policy, see Federal transport policy (WEB)
Science policy could turn biodiversity into one of the major issues within its sector, notably by integrating it into scientific programmes or campaigns financed by public authorities, such as studies into forestry management and desertification as well as improving satellite data collection.
For further information on Federal scientific policy, see Federal scientific policy (WEB))
These two examples also apply to the development projects sector. Preserving the rich biodiversity of the southern countries and ensuring that these development projects do not harm that very same biodiversity are two yardsticks for evaluating international solidarity issues.
For further information on federal policy on Development cooperation, see Development cooperation (WEB)
Finally, the economy is often seen as being an environmental predator. Economic capital has grown over the decades, to the detriment of nature as a capital item, which has been diminishing constantly. Nevertheless, since the Rio Summit, countries have had a sovereign right over their own natural resources. This implies that a company wanting to exploit the potential of a medicinal plant, for example, must obtain prior consent from the country of origin and agree on the system for apportioning the benefits (both monetary and otherwise) between the parties.
This process of integration is being embodied in the logic of the National strategy on biodiversity (.PDF). This strategy, which has been put in place for ten years (2006 to 2016), establishes Belgium's priorities for stopping the loss of biodiversity between now and 2010. See 'Our national strategy (HTML)'
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Published on 06/05/2010 – Page last updated on 06/05/2010