Journal Archives > BGjournal > European Botanic Gardens and the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation
European Botanic Gardens and the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation
Volume 3 Number 1 - January 2006
A large number of biodiversity-related strategies and agendas operate at international, regional and national level within the European Union. European botanic gardens therefore have to define their role and relevance in relation to plant conservation in the context of a complicated policy framework. In response to international biodiversity strategies and actions plans, botanic garden networks in some regions are in the process of developing region-specific botanic garden targets – as for example the North American strategy reported in this volume.
European botanic gardens however, in the face of a plethora of regional and international strategies, have decided not to attempt to develop further EU-specific botanic garden targets, but instead are reviewing the actions that are already underway in botanic gardens which are outlined in the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation, and through this, contribute to the achievement of global, regional and national plant conservation targets.
This paper provides some preliminary results of this review process, and demonstrates that European botanic gardens are contributing in many and varied ways to biodiversity conservation in Europe through the implementation of the International Agenda.
The International Agenda was published in 2002, providing a global framework for the actions of botanic gardens in relation to the conservation and sustainable use of plant resources. In 2002, the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was adopted by the 187 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including a set of 16 outcome-oriented targets for plant conservation to be achieved by 2010.
Following the adoption of the GSPC, botanic gardens began to examine how actions already being carried out in the framework of the International Agenda, actually contributed to the achievement of the targets of the GSPC. At the World Botanic Gardens Congress in Barcelona in 2004, a set of targets for botanic gardens, to be achieved by 2010 were developed in order to explicitly link the actions recommended in the International Agenda with the targets of the GSPC (Wyse Jackson, 2004). Following a period of consultation, these targets were agreed by the world botanic garden community (2010 Targets for botanic gardens).
The targets provide a mechanism to monitor the achievement of the policies and practices of the International Agenda and to quantify the contribution of botanic gardens to the targets of the GSPC. The international botanic gardens targets also provide the basis for the development of regional and national botanic gardens targets – as for example in the North American region and the U.K. (Jebb, 2005).
European Biodiversity Targets
In 2000, botanic gardens in Europe adopted the Action Plan for Botanic Gardens in the European Union (Cheney et al., 2000). This sets out more than 30 objectives on science and horticulture, conservation of biodiversity, education, training and awareness, networking, co-operation and capacity building. Similar to the International Agenda, the Action Plan does not include specific outcome-oriented targets, but rather provides a framework for action to achieve such targets.
With the development of the GSPC and a focus on plants across the conservation community, Planta Europa (a network of organisations working for plant conservation in Europe), together with the Council of Europe (an inter-governmental organisation) developed the European Plant Conservation Strategy (EPCS). In 2002, the EPCS was recognised by the Convention on Biological Diversity as a contribution to the GSPC with the 42 targets of the EPCS being arranged under five objectives, corresponding to the five objectives of the GSPC.
Within Europe, the EPCS is also seen as contributing to the Pan European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLS) (ECNC, 2001). Within the framework of this strategy, in 2001 the European Union set a target to “halt the decline of biodiversity by 2010”. Following the setting of this headline target, the European Commission undertook a year-long consultation process on its biodiversity strategy and the identification of priorities towards meeting the 2010 commitments. This process was finalised at a conference in Malahide, Ireland in 2004 where a number of priority objectives were identified, with specific targets for each objective to ensure clarity of what has to be achieved by 2010. These targets are outlined in the ‘Message from Malahide’. The European research community was engaged in this process through the European Platform for Biodiversity Research Strategy (EPBRS) and in particular through a meeting held in Killarney in May 2004 (EU presidency 2004 Website, 2004). The Killarney meeting also adopted a declaration and recommendations on biodiversity research which were subsequently endorsed at Malahide.
Strategies and Action Plans Relevant to European Botanic Gardens
European Botanic Gardens and Plant Conservation Targets
In 2004-5, European botanic gardens, in the framework of the European Botanic Gardens Consortium, initiated a process of understanding and recording in a meaningful way, their contribution to the achievement of European, as well as global biodiversity targets. As a starting point, the wide range of biodiversity targets were analysed, those relevant to the work of botanic gardens identified. It became clear that all relevant targets could be grouped under the targets of the GSPC and in this way a matrix was developed, including the GSPC, international botanic garden, EPCS, Malahide and Killarney Declaration targets. Within this matrix, European botanic gardens are now starting to identify specific actions, on-going or planned, which will contribute to the achievement of European and international plant conservation targets.
Cheney, J. Navarrete Navarro, J. & Wyse Jackson, P. (comp & eds) 2000. Action Plan for Botanic Garden in the European Union. Scripta Botanica BelgicaVol 19. Ministry of SME and Agriculture and National Botanic Garden of Belgium, Meise, Belgium.
CBD, 2002. European Plant Conservation Strategy (EPCS). Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. http://www.plantaeuropa.org/html/plant_conservation_strategy.htm, accessed November, 2005]
ECNC (European Centre for Nature Conservation), 2001. Pan European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy. [http://www.strategyguide.org/index.html, accessed November, 2005
EU presidency 2004 Website, 2004. Message from Malahide. Halting the decline of biodiversity - priority objectives and targets for 2010. [www.eu2004.ie/templates/document_file.asp?id=17810, accessed November, 2004].
Jebb, M., 2005. Developing a PlantNetwork response to Target 8 of the GSPC. BGjournal 2(2): 8.
Join BGCI in Protecting Plants for the Planet
BGCI is a membership organisation. We have more than 700 members, institutional and individual, in 118 countries. You too can join us in our global efforts to ensure plants are protected from the many threats facing them today and get some great benefits.
The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
The GSPC is a plan to save the world's plant species. Botanic gardens are making a major contribution worldwide. Click the image to find out more.
International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation
The International Agenda is a global policy framework for botanic gardens worldwide to contribute to biodiversity conservation. Find out more about how botanic gardens are contributing here.
Subscribe to BGjournal
To receive BGjournal and other BGCI publications, as soon as they are published, become a member of BGCI. Other benefits include free and discounted access to other resources from workshops to technical manuals. You'll also be joining a worldwide network of people working to save plants.
Target 8: Conserving Threatened Plants and Restoring Plant Diversity
Designed for anyone who is in a position to contribute to the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, this PDF leaflet is intended to raise awareness about Target 8 of the GSPC. Free to download and print yourself, or you can contact BGCI to discuss distribution of large batches.
The Global Partnership for Plant Conservation brings together international, regional and national organisations in order to contribute to the implementation of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). This site is full of resources for anyone wanting to help meet the targets.