National Focal Point

Orange barnacle

Regarding the Convention on Biological Diversity, OD Nature is involved at both an international and Belgian level. At the international level, we assist in the development of Belgian and European positions on biodiversity related matters. During the 12th Conference of the Parties of this Convention in 2014, for example, we contributed to the negotiations on various subjects, such as:

  • - Biodiversity and human health are intricately connected, both positively (e.g., through discovery of potential drugs in plants or through biodiversity’s contribution to maintaining a healthy environment) as well as negatively (e.g., many parasites and diseases like malaria). A process is presently ongoing to take stock of the diverse linkages between human health and biodiversity, and to preparing action plans to manage these connections to improve both biodiversity conservation and human health.
  • - Invasive alien species are exotic species that are particularly successful in regions where they have been introduced by humans, to the extent that they endanger other, local species or cause economic damage. During the last Conference of the Parties voluntary guidelines were adopted to manage alien species introduced as pets and terrarium species, in order to prevent these to enter into regions where they do not naturally occur, and, eventually, becoming invasive.

- New techniques in molecular biology are enabling the production of entirely new organisms and substances. Examples of such so-called “synthetic biology” techniques are combining foreign genes in bacteria to produce complex and rare or designed proteins, or the creation of biological systems with alternative forms of DNA-RNA or with unnatural amino acids, and many other techniques.  In a first step to deal with such organisms, the Convention decided to ask all states to apply appropriate risk assessment and management procedures to regulate the release of any organisms into the environment as a result of advanced molecular biology. techniques

Bees 2015

At the European and national level, we are involved in the implementation of European regulations related to biodiversity, such as the new EU regulations in response to the Nagoya Protocol. This protocol aims to, amongst other things, protect of biodiversity and indigenous traditional knowledge against biopiracy, and the EU regulations enforce compliance of European scientists and companies to this Nagoya Protocol. We facilitate the compilation of the Belgian national biodiversity strategy and organise the reporting on the implementation of the strategy to the convention. Most of this work involves bringing together representatives of the Belgian federal state and the Brussels, Flemish and Walloon regions, in order to come to common, agreed positions; this is done through a steering group mandated by the interministerial committee for the environment.

Raising public awareness is another of our major tasks. We collaborate with the Federal Public Service Environment by running an active communication strategy on selected subjects, such as "Bees" and the “I give life to my planet” initiative.

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