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News Fourth National Report

The Fourth National Report of Belgium to the CBD was officially sent to the CBD Secretariat on 5 october 2009.

Concerned URL
Source CBD National Focal Point
Release date 28/10/2009

Executive Summary 

The present report is the fourth National Report on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in and by Belgium. The previous Belgian National Reports were published in 1998, 2001 and 2005.

The report is organised as follows:

Chapter I provides an overview of the status and trends of biodiversity in Belgium, at the species and habitat levels, and focuses on threats such as pollution, alien species and climate change. Information is provided for the Flemish, Brussels-Capital and Walloon Regions as well as for the Belgian part of the North Sea.

The geography and geology of Belgium, together with long-standing human impact in land use, resulted in an amazing diversity of habitat types for a rather small territory. Not less than 58 of them are listed in the EU Habitats Directive. Around 36,300 species of micro-organisms, plants, fungi and animals have been recorded in Belgium and expert extrapolations suggest that the actual number should range between 52,000 and 55,000 species.

In Flanders, at least 7% of formerly recorded species are extinct, 19% are endangered and 28% are vulnerable to near threatened. A similar situation exists in Wallonia, as, depending on the taxonomic group, between 40% and 83% of the species show an obvious population decline. In the Brussels-Capital Region, 80 higher plant species, 12 bird species and half of the amphibian species have disappeared. The Belgian marine area suffers from severe declines in fish and crustaceans, notably in commercial species.

Chapter II provides an overview of the country’s strategic documents and action plans. The National Biodiversity Strategy 2006-2016 is briefly described and its status of implementation is discussed. This strategy complements the strategic documents developed at the regional level.

In the Flemish Region, the Policy Plan for Environment and Nature 2003-2007 has been extended to 2010. Its major objectives and instruments for implementation are summarised. In the Walloon Region, the administration for agriculture, natural resources and the environment has adopted a strategic plan with targets and indicators for the period 2008-2013. In the Brussels-Capital Region, the biodiversity policy is partially guided by the part on the green and blue network within the Regional Development Plan. The elaboration of a regional plan for nature and biodiversity is the Brussels commitment for Countdown 2010. New legislation and 13 action plans are also foreseen.

A note on action 18 of the second Federal Plan for Sustainable Development 2004-2008, promoting the integration of biodiversity in four key sectors (transport, economy, development cooperation, scientific policy), closes this chapter.

Chapter III starts by describing the sectoral and cross-sectoral integration of biodiversity enhanced and supported at the regional level. It focuses on the initiatives in various themes and sectors such as water management, land use planning, construction, agriculture and forestry, and in relation to stakeholders such as business, local authorities, etc. The second part of the chapter focuses more in detail on the above-mentioned federal plan for the sectoral integration of biodiversity in four key sectors.

The first part of chapter IV reviews the progress made by Belgium towards the 2010 Target. It provides a non exhaustive overview of programs and actions in relation to key issues such as biodiversity conservation, sustainable use, threats to biodiversity, ecosystem services, traditional knowledge, benefit sharing and financial resources.

The second part of the chapter reviews the country’s progress towards the goals and objectives of the Strategic Plan of the Convention. Information is provided on cooperation and collaboration, improving capacities, strategies and action plans, CEPA.

The chapter concludes with a ray of hope but states that efforts are not sufficient to stop biodiversity loss in Belgium and that the European target of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010 will not be reached. Some suggestions are put forward to remediate to this situation.

After the report, appendices are presented with:

  • party and report contact information;
  • overview of the Belgian Regional and Thematic Focal Points;
  • information on the elaboration process of the report;
  • list of contributing experts;
  • further sources of information;
  • progress in implementing the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation;
  • progress in implementing the Programme of Work on Protected Areas.



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