NBC adopts new plan to combat biodiversity loss

NBC adopts new plan to combat biodiversity loss

The National Biodiversity Centre of Bhutan (NBC), under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, has adopted a New Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP), comprising a comprehensive framework aimed to create a nature-positive world and achieve the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) mission of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

Speaking during the International Biodiversity day on May 22, 2023 at Serbithang, Thimphu, the Agriculture and Livestock minister, Yeshey Penjor said that the various stakeholders and UNDP are coming together to develop national biodiversity target for the new NBSAP, in line with the global biodiversity frameworks, sustainable development goals and national 21st century economic growth map.

The minister also said that most of the development plan of the national biodiversity action plan are already underway with the formation of working groups.

“By implementing the NBSAP, the country joins hands with the international community in pursuing the shared mission of protecting and preserving the planet’s precious biodiversity,” he added.   

Additionally, the minister said that NBSAP shall act as a living document to guide any biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization of biological resources and any other biodiversity related activities to take place.

The minister also said that with the motivation and aspiration drawn from COP15, Bhutan will be able to restore loss biodiversity, maintain protected areas and conserved native biodiversity and sustainably use of resources. .  

Similarly, the deputy chief biodiversity officer, Choki Gyeltshen, said that the NBSAP is a living document to guide the biodiversity conservation and its sustainable utilization efforts at the national level.

The deputy chief officer said that the NBSAP will aim to tackle the new and emerging challenges in biodiversity conservation, such as changing national priorities, scientific information and knowledge gaps.

He also said that the 5th NBSAP will cover a wide range of biodiversity conservation issues. “Some of the key areas of focus are managing and restoring protected areas and degraded habitats, reducing biodiversity loss and harmful subsidies, securing and enhancing biodiversity financing, preventing and controlling invasive species, and reducing waste and overconsumption.”

The 5th NBSAP will also aim to integrate biodiversity conservation into private and financial sectors, ensure access and benefit sharing of biological resources and digital sequence information, regulate wildlife trade and prevent diseases from wildlife, and address various environmental, social and technological challenges for conservation.

The deputy chief officer added that it will include the private sectors, financial institutions, academics, farmers and local communities, Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the relevant government agencies.

Bhutan has just initiated the process of stock-taking and development of the new NBSAP (5th NBSAP) as the previous NBSAP 2014 expired in 2020. The process is being led by the NBC and the Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MoENR) with support from the UNDP Country Office in Bhutan.

The development of NBSAP is an obligation for Bhutan, since Bhutan is party to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity. The NBSAP is the principal instrument to implement the obligations under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the national commitment to global efforts in biodiversity conservation.

Bhutan has been a party to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) since 1995 after ratification by the 73rd session of the National Assembly of Bhutan. As a party to the CBD, Bhutan has an obligation to submit reports as well as develop biodiversity strategies and action plans as decided by the Conference of the Parties (COP).

Bhutan developed its first Biodiversity Action Plan in 1997, second in 2002, third in 2009 and the fourth, also known as the NBSAP, in 2014.

Further, after adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework during COP15 in December 2022 at Montreal, Canada, contracting parties are obligated to review the existing NBSAP and develop new NBSAP in accordance with the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework through an alignment with the national priorities.

Thus, the development of the NBSAP should be aligned to the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), 13th Five Year Plan, 21st Century Economic Roadmap, and other national priorities and legislations.

The KMGBF has adopted four goals and 23 targets for all the member nations to align their NBSAPs to GBF goals and targets.

Nidup Lhamo from Thimphu