Biodiversity policy of the Netherlands 2012-2017
After the end of the period of the policy program ‘Biodiversity works: for nature, for people, forever' (2007-2011), the policy of the Dutch government had been drawn up in a number of separate documents and letters to parliament.
The Dutch biodiversity policy in these years was mainly based on two pillars:
1) protection and management of nature in the Netherlands; and 2) the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems services - our 'natural capital' - for now and in the future. A description of this policy (as well as broader information about biodiversity) is also given in a 2012 edition about biodiversity of the quarterly magazine 'Cahier' (in Dutch).
Conservation and reinforcement of Dutch Nature
Regarding nature policy the Dutch government remained responsible for sketching the framework and setting the ambitions. The provinces however, got a larger responsibility for detailing and implementing the policy (as described in this leaflet in Dutch). This decentralization of nature policy was agreed in 2011 and laid down in the so called ‘Pact for Nature’ (in Dutch ‘Natuurakkoord’ Read more about this in the section on 'Policy and Biodiversity in the Netherlands'. In the period after 2012 for some time a group of nature- en knowledge organisations cooperated to exchange practical knowledge about the management of nature reserves, woodland and rural landscapes (via a specific webportal ('Nature Portal'). See here for a video about that.
Conservation and sustainable use of Nature in the Caribbean Netherlands
The Dutch government in 2010 gained a specific responsibility for the good governance and sustainable use of nature in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Statia and Saba). In 2014 the cabinet drew up a specific nature policy plan for these three Caribbean islands:
- Nature Policy Plan Caribbean Netherlands 2013-2017.
- See also the letter to parliament (in Dutch) regarding this policy plan.
International preservation and sustainable use of natural capital
The Dutch government in these years wanted specific attention for national and international conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The plans for that were drawn up in the ‘Implementation Agenda Natural Capital’ (June 2013, In Dutch: 'Uitvoeringsagenda Natuurlijk Kapitaal'). The goal as formulated in this agenda was to have resilient ecosystems and ecosystem services by 2020. These must contribute to biodiversity, water- and food security, poverty reduction and wellbeing. The advice ‘Green growth” of the Task Force Biodiversity and Natural Resources was also incorporated in the Agenda. The Implementation Agenda knew 16 actions, divided over four priority themes and one cross cutting theme (awareness). The latter among others to be established by interaction with the program ‘Duurzaam Door’ (full title: ‘Duurzaam door’ Social Innovation for a Green Economy (website in Dutch).
Actions with regards to Sustainable production and consumption, sustainable chains:
- More timber from sustainably managed forests on the Dutch market;
- Bring different parties from the chain together via a Round Table on sustainable Timber;
- Fair agreements on the use of plant genetic material;
- Sustainable production of biomass for electricity and heat;
- Protecting nature on landscape level in production areas of agricultural commodities;
Sustainability of international Dutch supply chains (publication PBL 2013)
Actions with regards to Sustainable fisheries and conservations of the marine environment:
- Better protection of Caribbean coral;
- Designation of the Sargasso sea as a protected area;
- Tackling plastic pollution of the sea;
- Restoration of degraded ecosystems in the marine environment;
Actions with regards to Sustainable agriculture and protection of biodiversity:
- Lower impact on nature of plant protection products.
- Restoration of degraded terrestrial ecosystems;
- Balancing Biodiversity and Food production. See also the brochure (in Dutch) for farmers as nature entrepreneurs;
Actiepunten t.a.v. meten en waarderen van natuurlijk kapitaal:
Actions with regards to measurement and valuation of natural capital:
- Producing a digital atlas of ecosystem services in The Netherlands;
- Making visible the economic value of ecosystem services through TEEB-studies (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, 2011-2013);
- Natural capital and economy in statistics. As a follow up to the Dutch TEEB studies a two year programme ‘Natural Capital of the Netherlands’ was carried out by the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency PBL. In 2016 this programme was finalized with the publication of the report ‘Natural Capital in the Netherlands: recognizing its true value’ (in English).
- The Dutch Business community understands the value of Natural Capital. In line with this action on 20 November 2012 a side event was organised during the Dutch National Sustainability Congres under the title 'Biodiversity: opportunities for businesses' (Report in Dutch). Also on 14 April 2014 a seminar on Circular Economy and Biodiversity was held.
In the context of awareness raising in 2012-2013 an effort was made via the so called ‘Biodiversity Action Plan’ initiative. A specific website was created of which the content is archived here. In an animated video on these Biodiversity Action Plans the advantages were showcased of biodiversity in neighborhoods and for environmental quality, water storage and recreation.
In 2016 also a sub-site (in Dutch) of Biodiversity-CHM.NL was created, specifically aiming at ‘Opportunities for Biodiversity in Cities’ (in Dutch ‘Kansen voor Biodiversiteit in de Stad’ archived here).
To make it easy for entrepreneurs and conservation organizations to invest in nature, since 2011 they can close so called ‘Green deals’ with the Dutch government. In such Green deal agreements are laid out regarding for example innovation, knowledge development and -dissemination and the acceleration of the procedures for permits. Since then over 200 Green deals have been closed. Many of these these are related to Biodiversity (see website in Dutch), for example nature on business park, biomimicry, sustainable green space, sustainable timber, etc. Other green Green deals, such as a sustainable concrete chain also do have a positive effect on biodiversity.
The Green deal ‘Stimulation of Sustainable forest management’ (2013-2015, in Dutch Green Deal Bevorderen Duurzaam Bosbeheer), for example was meant to increase the percentage of timber from sustainably managed forests on the Dutch market. The Dutch government together with IDH also in november 2013 was ‘founding partner’ of the EU Sustainable Tropical Timber Coalition (EU STTC). The then government coalition wanted to increase the demand for tropical timber from sustainably managed forests.
Government Vision 2014
How will we deal with nature in future? This question was answered in the Government Vision 2014 ‘The Natural way forward’. Read more about this in the section on 'Policy and Biodiversity in the Netherlands'. The motto is: ‘Nature back into the heart of society’. Many organizations and parties provided their input, at so called ‘green tables’ during the ‘Nature summit’ of June 22nd 2013 and during the campaign ‘Natuurkaravaan’, a series of six small scale conversations (between 26 February and 10 March 2014) by the Ministry of Economic affairs and societal initiatives in The Netherlands dealing with nature issues.
One of the ways of the Dutch government to implement the Government Vision was also the ‘Synergy program Nature and Hospitable entrepreneurship’ (In Dutch: SynergieProgramma Natuur en Gastvrij Ondernemen). In the vision a major transformation in thinking and action is central: Nature belongs to be central in society, a reason also for organizing a mini symposium about the subject of ‘motivations for nature conservation’ (report in Dutch).
Other Policy documents 2012-2017 (In Dutch):
- State of affairs regarding biodiversity policy, July 2012
- ‘Onwards with Nature’ In Dutch: Vooruit met natuur: pamphlet, June 2013
- ‘Onwards with Nature Policy’ In Dutch: Vooruit met natuurbeleid, maart 2013
- ‘Onwards with Nature Policy – mid term evaluation’ In Dutch: Vooruit met natuurbeleid - tussenbalans, oktober 2013
During the period 2012-2014 news items were published on the Dutch CHM site (in Dutch). These are archived here.