UK implementation of the CBD

Overall responsibility for fulfilling the UK’s commitments as a Party to the CBD lies with the UK Government, with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) the lead government department. However; in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales the responsibility most policy areas relating to the implementation of the CBD is devolved to their respective national governments. As England has no devolved national government, the responsibility remains with the UK Government.

Recognising the devolution of powers across the UK, the UK-CHM provides information on the implementation of the CBD in the UK separately for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Further information is also provided on the implementation of the CBD in the UK’s offshore environment

To aid joint implementation of the CBD across the UK, the four governments of the UK work towards a mutually agreed UK post-2010 Biodiversity Framework. The individual biodiversity strategies of the four governments of the UK, along with the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework, combine to form the UK’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)

Additionally, all four governments of the UK jointly published the UK Marine Strategy Part One in 2012. It provides a series of targets, and associated indicators, for how the UK will achieve good environmental status for UK waters. In doing so, it complements the documents that comprise the UK’s NBSAP and provides a framework for the implementation of the CBD within the UK’s marine environment. An update was published in 2019 to set out how the four governments of the UK intends to move towards good environmental status of UK seas over the next 6 years. 

In 2018, the UK Government published ‘A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Protect the Environment’. This plan sets out the UK Government’s long-term approach to protecting and enhancing the environment. The plan primarily relates to England. However, as the UK Government retains responsibility for a number of cross-UK environmental matters, parts of the plan have relevance across the UK. The plan does not supercede the documents which combine to create the UK’s NBSAP. Rather, it sets the wider strategic policy context within which policy areas the UK Government has responsibility for will be further developed.

Additionally, the Scottish and Welsh Governments along with the UK Government (for UK and England specific matters) mutually agreed The Great Britain Invasive Non-Native Species Strategy in 2015. This is a joint strategy for managing the invasive alien species threat on the island of Great Britain (i.e. England, Scotland and Wales and outlying minor islands). The plan excludes Northern Ireland for biogeographical reasons. However, the Northern Irish Executive works closely with the Government of the Republic of Ireland to jointly manage the invasive alien species threat across the island of Ireland. 

The four governments of the UK jointly fund the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). JNCC has a statutory role to advise all the governments of the UK on the development and implementation of biodiversity conservation policy that has impacts across more than one country of the UK (i.e. across the governmental jurisdictions of the UK). JNCC has a further statutory role in providing advice on the development of conservation policy outside of the UK (including in the Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies). JNCC advises UK CBD delegates attending meetings of the CBD and JNCC staff usually attend CBD meetings as part of the UK delegation. 

Image of native uk species, a fox
Fox - ©Colin Seddon