The Convention on Biological Diversity as a legal framework for safeguarding ecosystem services

Ecosystem Services, published online 30.03.2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.02.015

Biodiversity underpins ecosystem services. The UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has adopted an ecosystem services approach as a framework for biodiversity management at the national level. Protection of ecosystem services requires far more than traditional nature conservation measures like the designation and management of protected areas. The economic sectors that affect biodiversity and ecosystem services must be involved, to address not merely the symptoms but the root causes of the degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Achieving coherence in policies and actions across economic sectors and the changes involved in values, decision-making and practices, requires legal approaches to ensure buy-in and accountability. Ideally, such approaches should be included in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), the key instrument for translating the CBD into national action. A review of 20 revised NBSAPs shows that such measures have been introduced only to a very limited extent with many countries still in the earliest stages of preparing measures to protect ecosystem services. Thus, there is a need for further research and practical guidance regarding legal approaches to ecosystem services.

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