Local Biodiversity Action Partnership

Why Biodiversity Matters

Biodiversity contributes to what makes the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull distinctive. Imagine a world without:

  • animals and plants in your local park
  • bees and butterflies on flowers
  • ladybirds on your windowsill
  • a bluebell wood alive with bird song
  • a meadow full of wild flowers
  • a pond with flowers and frogs
  • hedges full of blossom

We all depend on water, oxygen and food which are provided by the variety of habitats and species around us. The quality of our lives is greatly enriched by wildlife and it has been shown that contact with wildlife and open spaces improves our health and well-being.

Yet our biodiversity faces great challenges from the activities of people. The need for homes , food transport and jobs has inevitably led to the loss of species and habitats. We need to restore and rebuild biodiversity.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was the first international attempt to do this. Over 150 countries pledged to conserve their dwindling biodiversity and by 1994 Britain had published a UK Biodiversity Action Plan and encouraged local people and organisations to form partnerships to produce and deliver their own Local Biodiversity Action plans.

The framework for considering biodiversity within UK legislation / regulation is provided by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. This placed a duty on local authorities and other public bodies to consider the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out all of their functions in order to raise the profile of biodiversity.

International Biodiversity Legislation

The Convention on Biological Diversity -  or Biodiversity Convention for short - was opened for signature in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992:

  • One hundred and ninety-three states and the European Union are parties to the convention which recognized for the first time in international law that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and is an integral part of the development process.
  • Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and it is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • Importantly, the Convention is legally binding; countries that join it ('Parties') are obliged to implement its provisions.

The 2010 Biodiversity Target was first adopted at the EU Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2001:

  • it was an overall conservation target aiming to halt the decline of biodiversity by the end of 2010 as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.
  • Countdown 2010 was an alliance of organisations working together to reach this target
  • despite some successes, by 2010 the world had largely failed to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level .

'Making Space for Nature was a report commissioned by Defra in 2009 in response to this failure:

  • a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network, chaired by John Lawton.
  • it argued that 'we need a step-change in our approach to wildlife conservation, from trying to hang on to what we have got to one of large scale habitat restoration and recreation, under-pinned by the re-establishment of ecological processes and ecosystem services, for the benefits of both people and wildlife'.

In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted at the10th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October in Nagoya, Japan

  • on 22 December 2010, the UN declared the period from 2011 to 2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
  • A revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, will be the overarching framework on biodiversity.
  • The Conference of the Parties agreed to translate this overarching international framework into national biodiversity strategies and action plans within two years.

Actions are taking place around the world by governments and organizations to achieve these targets, some of which are:

  • Establish a conservation target of 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10% of marine and coastal areas
  • Restore at least 15% of degraded areas through conservation and restoration activities
  • At least halve and, where feasible, bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests
  • Make special efforts to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs

In the UK, in 2011, Defra's ambitious 'Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services' provided a comprehensive picture of how we are implementing our international and EU commitments. It sets out the strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the next decade on land (including rivers and lakes) and at sea, building on the successful work that has gone before, but also seeking to deliver a real step change. The core action is to ensure no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services.

In 2013 the report 'State of Nature – a stocktake of all our native wildlife by 25 wildlife organisations', highlights what we have lost and what we are still losing:

  • gives examples of how we – as individuals, organisations, governments – can work together to stop this loss, and bring back nature where it has been lost.