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Developing International Targets for Botanic Gardens in Conservation

Volume 1 Number 1 - July 2004
Peter Wyse Jackson

An important outcome of the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress was the development of a series of 20 targets for botanic gardens* to be achieved by 2010, to help measure the achievement of the objectives of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation** and as a contribution towards the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation***.

Introduction

In June 2000 the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation was published to provide a global framework for botanic garden policies, programmes and priorities in biodiversity conservation. It was launched at the 1st World Botanic Gardens Congress (Asheville, North Carolina, U.S.A.) and since then, over 280 botanic gardens around the world have registered their commitment to working with BGCI to implement it.

Since its launch, the International Agenda has been recognised and included as a major contribution to the achievement of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), which was adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in April 2002. The GSPC itself includes 16 outcome-orientated targets for the conservation and sustainable use of plants throughout the world, to be achieved by 2010.

The 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress, held in Barcelona Spain from 17th to 22nd April provided an opportunity to review progress on the implementation of the International Agenda and through it, consider how botanic gardens can contribute more effectively to the achievement of the GSPC’s objectives and its targets.

On Friday 16th April 2004 an ad hoc international group met at the Botanic Institute of Barcelona to consider the need for targets for botanic gardens to monitor the achievement of the objectives of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation and to outline the explicit contribution of botanic gardens worldwide towards the achievement of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC). The members of the group were David Bramwell (Spain), David Galbraith (Canada), Douglas Gibbs (BGCI), Alberto Gomez Mejia (Colombia), Huang Hongwen (China), Mike Maunder (U.S.A.), Jan Rammeloo (Belgium), George Schatz (U.S.A.), Suzanne Sharrock (BGCI), Christopher Willis (South Africa) and Peter Wyse Jackson (BGCI).

The international group agreed that such targets are urgently needed, that they should relate to the objectives of the GSPC and that they should be developed and presented to the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress for review and endorsement. 2010 was proposed as the date by which the botanic gardens community would aim to achieve the targets, harmonizing their implementation with the targets of the GSPC, adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2002. 2010 is also the date set by the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) (Johannesburg, 2002) for the achievement of a target in relation to biodiversity included in its plan of implementation, viz. “to significantly reduce the rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010”.

These draft targets were subsequently distributed for review and revision to all delegates participating in the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress and were also considered during a series of discussions workshops held during the congress. The need for such targets was endorsed by the Congress. It was agreed that following a period of consultation amongst the botanic garden community, and when consensus had been reached, these targets would be adopted as a protocol to the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation.

It is stressed that the proposed targets relate to the cumulative contributions of the international botanic garden community towards plant conservation. Regional and national network organizations and individual botanic gardens are invited to develop appropriate targets according to regional, national, local needs and institutional priorities and capacities. It is recognized that in some regions substantial new resources and capacity will be required if botanic gardens are to be able to achieve the ambitious targets proposed. It is also recognized and acknowledged that in some countries and regions targets will be adopted which are either lesser or greater than those being proposed for the global level.

Botanic gardens are urged to implement targets wherever possible and appropriate through relevant partnerships and collaborations. In implementing the proposed targets, the group proposed that botanic gardens worldwide should seek to ensure that their activities in conservation are closely linked with activities undertaken in support of National Biodiversity Strategies and Action plans and GSPC initiatives developed at national levels.

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation

The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation was itself adopted at the Sixth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity which was held in The Hague in April, 2002 (Decision VI/9). While the entry point for the Strategy is plant conservation, aspects of sustainable use, capacity building and benefit-sharing are also included. The Strategy provides an innovative framework for actions at global, regional, national and local levels. A global dimension is important because it can facilitate the development of a consensus of key objectives, targets and actions and enhance collaboration and synergy at all levels. The Strategy is backed by a wide range of organisations and institutions – governments, intergovernmental organizations, conservation and research organizations (such as protected-area management boards, botanic gardens, and gene banks), universities, research institutes, non-governmental organizations and their networks, and the private sector.

A really new element of the Strategy is the inclusion of 16 outcome-orientated targets, aimed at achieving a series of measurable goals by 2010. This is the first time that the Convention has adopted such targets and the success of this approach will be watched with interest as a potential model for other aspects of the work of the Convention. The Strategy acknowledges that the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation is of particular relevance to the achievement of the GSPC as an existing on-going initiative.

Targets in the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation

The development of targets for botanic gardens is acknowledged as an important priority in the text of the International Agenda. It is notable that the International Agenda was developed and adopted by the botanic garden community in 2000 before the issue of developing specific targets in plant conservation had been widely considered and incorporated into what was then only a proposal for a global plant conservation strategy.

The targets identified in the International Agenda were not finalised in 2000 prior to its publication through the inclusion of quantifiable achievements within a specified timeframe. As proposed in the International Agenda, BGCI has therefore undertaken to assist in the development of a series of internationally applicable, widely agreed, realistic and measurable targets.

It is suggested that the development and adoption of measurable targets for the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation provides a valuable tool to enhance the achievement of the objectives of the International Agenda. Such targets could provide useful reference points for monitoring progress and for rallying public opinion behind issues of priority concern.

The adoption of targets at the global level by botanic gardens may also support or be used to stimulate the development of related targets for botanic garden actions in biodiversity conservation at all levels, helping to address different priorities in biodiversity conservation throughout the world. Targets can also assist in the identification of gaps in work currently being undertaken. Consensus on the development of shared global targets and work for their achievement can also be expected to enhance synergies and result in added value from the actions undertaken by a broad range of players.

THE DRAFT 2010 TARGETS FOR BOTANIC GARDENS

The following targets were proposed for further consideration and refinement during the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress. The GSPC target to which each 2010 target most closely relates is provided below (in italics) for easy reference.

(a)Understanding and documenting plant diversity:

(i) A widely accessible working list of known plant species, as a step towards a complete world flora;
1)The herbaria of botanic gardens and their living collections contribute to and support the development of a working list of known plant species, by developing local, national and regional checklists, floras and monographs as appropriate;

(ii) A preliminary assessment of the conservation status of all known plant species, at national, regional and international levels;

2)Botanic gardens contribute to, support, undertake and review national, regional and international threatened plant assessments to ensure that a preliminary evaluation is available in every country;

(iii) Development of models with protocols for plant conservation and sustainable use, based on research and practical experience;

3)Botanic gardens develop and disseminate models, protocols and case studies for priority plants, their ecosystems and cultural landscapes, within their area of expertise and interest, as relevant to achieve the targets of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation;

Sub-target: Botanic gardens develop, adopt and implement best practice in the implementation of the policies and guidelines of the Convention on Biological Diversity and relevant national laws and regulations in relation to access and benefit sharing;

(b) Conserving plant diversity:

(iv) At least 10 per cent of each of the world’s ecological regions effectively conserved;

4)Botanic gardens support and contribute to national, regional and international conservation policies, planning and management of ecological regions, through documentation, research and advocacy;

(v) Protection of 50 per cent of the most important areas for plant diversity assured;

5)Botanic gardens support and contribute to the identification and conservation of the most important areas for plant diversity and the development of policies, planning and management through documentation, research and advocacy;

(vi) At least 30 per cent of production lands managed consistent with the conservation of plant diversity;

6)Botanic gardens contribute to the development and application of protocols and practices that support and promote the sustainable management and conservation of plant diversity in production lands;

(vii) 60 per cent of the world’s threatened species conserved in situ;

7)Botanic gardens in every country support, promote and contribute to the integrated conservation and management of threatened species and populations in situ, working with protected area managers and communities at local, regional and national levels;

(viii) 60 per cent of threatened plant species in accessible ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin, and 10 per cent of them included in recovery and restoration programmes;

8)50 per cent of threatened plants included in accessible botanic garden ex situ conservation collections, including cultivated and genebank material, preferably in the country of origin;

Sub-target: 75 per cent of critically endangered species (CR) included in ex situ conservation collections by 2010, preferably in the country of origin;

9)Botanic gardens support and participate in recovery and restoration programmes for 5 per cent of the world’s threatened plant species;

(ix) 70 per cent of the genetic diversity of crops and other major socio-economically valuable plant species conserved, and associated indigenous and local knowledge maintained;

10)Botanic gardens in every country support, promote and contribute to the integrated conservation and management of medicinal plants, wild relatives of crops and other major socio-economically valuable plants, and maintenance of associated indigenous and local knowledge;

(x) Management plans in place for at least 100 major alien species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems;

11)All botanic gardens carry out invasive species risk assessments of their collections and management practices;

12)Botanic gardens contribute to best practice for control programmes for at least 100 major invasive species that threaten plants, plant communities and associated habitats and ecosystems;

(c) Using plant diversity sustainably:

(xi) No species of wild flora endangered by international trade;

13)Botanic gardens in each country participate in the national and international implementation of CITES, through research, education and awareness, development of good practices, training and plant rescue;

14)Botanic gardens promote sustainable practices in international trade of wild flora through research, training, education and awareness;

(xii) 30 per cent of plant-based products derived from sources that are sustainably managed;

15)All botanic gardens develop and implement a policy to use plant-based products derived only from sustainable sources and promote awareness of the need for sustainable use of plant resources;

(xiii) The decline of plant resources, and associated indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care, halted;

16)Botanic gardens contribute to local, national, regional and international programmes that seek to reverse the decline of plant resources and associated indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices, through their research, education and conservation activities;

(d) Promoting education and awareness about plant diversity:

(xiv) The importance of plant diversity and the need for its conservation incorporated into communication, educational and public -awareness programmes;

17)The importance of plants and their conservation promoted by botanic gardens to at least one billion people worldwide;

18)Every botanic garden education programme emphasises the importance of plant diversity and ecosystem services in [sustainable development] / [supporting life];

The following alternative formulations for targets in relation to education and awareness were proposed at a workshop held during the 2nd World Botanic Gardens Congress in Barcelona, April 2004. Views and suggestions in relation to these alternative formulations are also invited:

17) Every botanic garden to have an education programme to promote Target 14 of the GSPC including the adoption of outcome-orientated [SMART] measurable targets.

18) All staff in botanic gardens to receive training in communication, education and public awareness.

(e) Building capacity for the conservation of plant diversity:

(xv) The number of trained people working with appropriate facilities in plant conservation increased, according to national needs, to achieve the targets of this Strategy;

19) Appropriate resources and facilities developed to enable botanic gardens in every country of the world to achieve the targets of the International Agenda and the GSPC;

Sub-target: Double the number of trained botanic garden staff working in conservation, research and education;

Sub-target: Botanic gardens develop programmes to deliver training and capacity building in plant conservation;

(xvi) Networks for plant conservation activities established or strengthened at national, regional and international levels;

20) Botanic gardens and their networks strengthened to achieve the targets of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation;

Sub-target: At least 750 botanic gardens participate in the implementation of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation;

Sub-target: All botanic garden networks participate in the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation;

Sub-target: All botanic gardens participate in relevant national, regional and international conservation networks and partnerships.

*
Footnote: Within the context of the International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation and these proposed international targets for 2010, when the term “botanic garden” is used it should be interpreted to include arboreta and other specialised forms of plant collection, as well as their institutional resources and staff. The definition of botanic gardens applied to these targets is as given in the International Agenda: ‘Botanic gardens are institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education’ (Wyse Jackson, 1999).

**
International Agenda for Botanic Gardens in Conservation
Wyse Jackson, P.S. and Sutherland, L.A. (2000). Botanic Gardens Conservation International, London, U.K. ISBN 0 9520275 9 3. Copies can be obtained from the Publications Department, BGCI, Descanso House, 199 Kew Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3BW, U.K. Fax: +44 (0) 20 8332 5956, E-mail: info@bgci.org. Language versions available include Chinese, English, French, German, Latvian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

***
CBD (2003) Global Strategy for Plant Conservation
Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

 
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