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Many countries have made commitments to meet global targets for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development, such as those set out in the 2010 Aichi Biodiversity Targets, the Sustainable Development Goals, and objectives of other multilateral environmental agreements, and will decide on new global goals and targets as part of apost-2020 global biodiversity framework to be agreed sometime in 2021. In order to evaluate progress towards these goals, measurable indicators of changes in biodiversity status are needed, as well as the data to inform them and the expertise to interpret and use the knowledge they provide.
UNEP-WCMC hosts the Secretariat of the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership, which was established in 2007 to promote and coordinate the development and delivery of biodiversity indicators.
In its first phase (2007–2010), the Partnership brought together over 40 organizations worldwide to develop, strengthen and communicate a suite of complementary indicators of biodiversity status and change. Members contributed data, monitoring systems and expertise on biodiversity from their specialist area of work.
The adoption of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets in 2010 heralded a new phase of work for the Partnership. Thirteen of the 20 Aichi Targets were covered by at least one of the existing indicators developed through the Partnership, but there were significant gaps to fill. This meant enlarging the Partnership to deliver information on an expanded set of indicators.
In addition to its technical work developing national and international biodiversity indicators, the Partnership also:
The Biodiversity Indicators Partnership has contributed substantially to the scientific community’s capacity to monitor biodiversity changes and pressures. By improving access to information, it has also influenced decisions that have led to the improvement of species, habitat and ecosystem conservation.
UNEP-WCMC is well positioned to combine scientific research with policy advice and the development of decision support tools. The UNEP-WCMC team that hosts the Biodiversity Indicators Partnership Secretariat provides skills including biodiversity indicator development, liaison with external agencies, capacity building and communication. The Secretariat team includes a number of members of the Ecosystem Assessment and Policy Support Programme team.
The Biodiversity Indicators Partnership now includes more than 60 organizations working internationally on biodiversity indicators. The Steering Committee is chaired by the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and includes UNEP-WCMC. Other members include the European Commission, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, UNEP, Forest Peoples Programme, and the Government of Switzerland.
The Biodiversity Indicators Partnership has benefited from funding from the Global Environment Facility, European Commission and UNEP.