Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
General Information about the NBSAP and the national targets ()
The National Biodiversity Strategy of the Czech Republic (hereinafter the “Strategy”) represents a fundamental conceptual document defining the priorities in the field of conservation, and the sustainable use of biodiversity within the territory of the Czech Republic. It follows up the comprehensive evaluation of the previous document from 2005, on the basis of which, priority areas and objectives were identified. It also takes into account the current international commitments, in particular, the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 and the Strategic Plan of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to 2020. At the same time, the Strategy follows up on the measures defined by the State Environmental Policy, and it is also linked to other conceptual documents which span across all sectors.
The main role of the updated Strategy is to create a basic conceptual framework based on the existing legislation and the existing instruments, which will contribute to the improvement of the overall situation and sustainable use of biodiversity within the territory of the Czech Republic. Favourable conservation status of biodiversity is a prerequisite for the ecosystem’s ability to provide essential goods and services to human society. Therefore, it is necessary to understand that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is one of the key pillars of sustainable development in the Czech Republic. In this respect, the Strategy represents a conceptual document, so that the objectives defined in the area of the protection and conservation of nature and natural resources in the updated Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Czech Republic to 2030, are met. The Strategy reflects the current international objectives, which are closely linked with the objectives of sustainable development, which contributes significantly towards the interoperability of the Strategy Objectives with other conceptual documents at the national level; through the Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development in the Czech Republic.
The main objective of the Strategy is to prevent the continued overall biodiversity loss within the territory of the Czech Republic and at the same time to implement the measures and activities that will lead to the improvement of the status of biodiversity and its sustainable use. In accordance with the main objective of the Strategy, there is a significant effort to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity and its adequate conservation, and to ensure sustainable future development of the Czech Republic. The overall decline in biodiversity has long been pursued at a European level, confirmed by the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. All EU Member States, on the basis of those unsatisfactory findings, agreed that it is necessary to make a significantly greater effort by developing a more effective use of existing instruments for the conservation of biodiversity within all key sectors which significantly affect the status of biological diversity. Particularly in Western European countries, the conservation of biological diversity is taken into account to a much larger extent across all sectors and at all levels of decision-making, which in turn contributes to greater knowledge about the long-term economic impact of biodiversity loss. The European Commission has at its disposal a comprehensive analysis of the available economic risks associated with the European biodiversity loss, and it is estimated that the failure to fulfil the main objective of the abovementioned EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020 causes an annual loss of € 50 billion to the EU economy.
A similar analysis has not yet been made in the Czech Republic; but it is obvious that the findings presented abroad are relevant for the territory of the Czech Republic. Here however, public and political interest in the conservation of biodiversity is lacking; there is little awareness of the risks and economic consequences of biodiversity loss. The presented Strategy should in this respect provide relevant and sufficient information for adequate integration of the issue of the conservation of biological diversity across all the sectors concerned.
To achieve the abovementioned objective, it will be necessary to ensure that the conservation of biodiversity is recognised as a prerequisite for the sustainable development of the Czech Republic; and in this respect it must be regarded as a matter of public interest.
Structure of the Strategy
The structure of the updated Strategy was the subject of discussions made by the Working Group, which was established by the Ministry of the Environment in order to prepare an update on the National Biodiversity Strategy for the period 2016-2025. The decision about the overall structure of the Strategy is based on the basic analytical data from two studies developed for the Ministry of the Environment in 2014 - “The Analysis of the Implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy in the Czech Republic 2005-2015 (Global Change Research Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences (GCRI), 2014)" and "The Analysis of Sources of Proposal of Structures: National Biodiversity Strategy of the CR for the period 2015-2025 (Hošek et al., 2014)”. The first analysis is a comprehensive assessment of the previous Strategy (2005-2015), more specifically of its two thematic parts; when the absence of indicators monitoring the component objectives is replaced by a total activities research and the overall development of the state in each of the areas. The second analysis was focused on the relevance of the existing objectives with regard to the current needs and trends in the field of biodiversity conservation at the national level, and also with regard to the current objectives set at the international level. At the same time, the second analysis provided a basic framework for determining the priority areas and objectives.
These documents were discussed and evaluated, as well as the up-to-date information contained in the Fifth National Report of the Czech Republic to the Convention on Biological Diversity (2014), documentation for the Assessment Report on the Status of Species and Natural Habitats in the Czech Republic (NCA CR, 2016), Report on the State of Nature in the EU (2015) and the mid-term review of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020, within the Working Group for the preparation of the Strategy update. Based on all of the relevant information, the Working Group decided, in the view of the complexity and scope of all of the documents that have been evaluated, that the updated Strategy will not contain a specific analytical part which would collectively present the abovementioned information. Instead, it was decided that an analysis of the status quo, which is also based on the abovementioned information, will be incorporated into individual component objectives of the Strategy.
Based on the abovementioned analytical foundation, the 4 following priority areas were defined for the updated Strategy:
1. Society Recognising the Value of Natural Resources
This area is mainly focused on the integration of the conservation of biodiversity in the public and private sectors, the increase in awareness of its importance in a global context, the issues of conservation of biodiversity in the context of tourism, and also the provision of adequate financial support.
2. Biodiversity Flourishing in the Long Term and Protection of Natural Processes
This part is aimed at sufficiently ensuring the protection of selected biodiversity components at all levels (even in the form of its sustainable use), and also at supporting natural processes in open landscape and settlements.
3. Environmentally Friendly Use of Natural Resources
Here the Strategy focuses in particular on the improvement of practices in the area of economic management and the use of biodiversity components and natural resources in selected ecosystems.
4. Providing Up-to-date and Relevant Information
In the last area, the Strategy is focused on securing the relevant information in the field of knowledge, monitoring and research of biodiversity, the establishment of the procedure for national assessment of ecosystem services and the definition of priorities in the involvement of the Czech Republic in international biodiversity conservation.
In those 4 priority areas, there is a total of 20 objectives which describe the general context and relevance of the minor issues of biodiversity protection. It is followed by a description of the current state which always ends with a table of the most important pressures on biodiversity in the region and current threats which may have a significant impact in the area in the future. The text part of each objective is followed by a table of component sub-objectives and each of them defines measures and activities that should be implemented in the following period. For the purpose of monitoring the implementation of component objectives, an indicator, deadline, verification source and responsible authority for each measure was determined. This should facilitate significantly the continuous overall Strategy assessment, which will make it possible to determine, for each component objective, whether or not and to what extent it is implemented and then set the performance of the whole Strategy accordingly.
The Strategy therefore provides a set of priority objectives and measures, which create a conceptual framework for specific activities in the field of biodiversity conservation in the territory of the Czech Republic during the period 2016-2025.
The specific objectives are followed by a summary of identified sources of funding for each of the objectives and comparison of the Strategy with other selected conceptual and strategic documents across sectors which deal predominantly with the issue of biodiversity conservation. The list of abbreviations used in the text is followed by a dictionary of key terms, in which the key terms from the field of biodiversity conservation are defined and explained. The annex to the Strategy then provides a list of so-called Aichi Targets of the Strategic Plan to 2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which are referred to in the text of the Strategy refers.
The Strategy does not contain a partial Action Plan which would elaborate on the proposed measures in detail, and set more specific tasks. This role, in particular in the context of the Priority Areas 2 and 3 of the Strategy, will be fulfilled by the State Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection Programme of the Czech Republic (SNCLPP), which will be updated by the end of 2017.
Following the adoption of the Strategy by the Government, the Ministry of the Environment will notify other departments concerned with a request to determine a focal point, through which the Ministry will further communicate with regard to the implementation of the Strategy sub-objectives and their subsequent assessment.
The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for the majority of the proposed measures and will identify the possibilities to increase the financial resources allocated for their implementation after the Strategy adoption. It is possible to use the resources from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), where the conservation of biodiversity is consistent across most programmes (Operational Programme Environment for 2014-2020, the Rural Development Programme for the period 2014-2020, Operational Programme Fisheries for the period 2014-2020, Operational Programme Enterprise and Innovation for Competitiveness, Integrated Regional Operational Programme, the Operational Programme Transport, etc.), until 2020. Together with the use of funds from the ESIF, it will be necessary, considering the need for continuity in the financing of nature conservation after the end of the programming period, to "prioritise" the conservation of biological diversity even at the level of specific departments, including the question of financial resources. In order to include the issue of the conservation of biodiversity to a larger extent within other sectors, specific departments were assigned as responsible for the component objectives, which in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment should ensure that under the current options of the state budget of the Czech Republic, the necessary financial resources are available for their implementation. The proposed measures may be partially implemented within the already existing measures and instruments or within their extension (especially in the Priority Areas 2 and 3). The main responsibility for the implementation of the Strategy and its component objectives lies with the Ministry of the Environment. However, it is essential that both the adequate consideration and inclusion of proposed measures within the framework of other sectors, and the identification of financial resources for their implementation, involve also the support of the Government and all relevant departments.
The Strategy contains a total of 20 framework objectives within 4 priority areas, which in addition to the assessment part of the current state and description of pressures and threats, also define the component objectives and specific measures for their implementation. The Strategy contains a total of 68 component objectives and 123 follow-up measures. Each measure was assigned its own indicator which will make it possible to assess the implementation of the measure. Verification sources of individual measures are assigned to all indicators, including the deadline and responsible authority.
The assessment of the Strategy will take place in two stages:
1. The mid-term review of the implementation of the component objectives of the Strategy in the middle of the period (the end of the year 2020).
2. Overall evaluation of the Strategy in 2025.
Both assessments will be carried out by the Ministry of the Environment, as the main responsible Strategy authority, in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. The evaluation system will be based on the collection of relevant data (defined verification sources), which will represent the basis for quantitative determination, in relation to the set indicator, on whether or not the specific measure has been implemented, has been partially implemented, or has not been implemented at all. On the basis of the evaluation of the implementation of the individual measures, it will be then possible to, once again, express the degree of implementation of individual objectives, framework objectives, and the overall Strategy.
In the mid-term evaluation, the attention will be focused primarily on those measures with a deadline of the year 2020; general evaluation of activities that have been implemented in that area will take place in case of other measures. A review of component objectives is not expected on the basis of the mid-term evaluation. The emphasis is put, in particular, on the identification of problem areas, where the expected changes were not achieved within the set deadline. In this respect, it may be possible to make a minor modification or add specific measures.
The proposed set of indicators (123 in total) was chosen for the evaluation of the implementation of individual measures and objectives. Where possible, the indicators from the Set of National Indicators (SNI), which is in effect from August 1, 2014 (total individual numbers linked to the 49 indicators, which are listed in the SNI) were assigned to these indicators. These indicators are listed under individual measures as additional, mainly due to the fact that they are associated only with the financial resources provided from the ESIF, while the implementation of the proposed measures should be in most cases from multiple sources (see Sources of Financing of the Strategy Objectives referred to on page 83). Other indicators contained in the Strategy have been created on an ad hoc basis for each action without a single required format. These specific indicators will make it possible to evaluate at a basic level the implementation of each objective and measure.
Monitoring of the overall state of biodiversity in the Czech Republic is greatly underdeveloped. Only in the case of species protection, there are several indicators with longer data series that can be used in the Strategy. These few available indicators have been used for a long time to inform the public about the status of biological diversity; for example in the Report on the Environment of the Czech Republic which is released annually by the Ministry of the Environment. Because it is not possible to consider the current set of indicators to monitor the status and trends of biodiversity in the Czech Republic as sufficiently representative, it is one of the objectives of the Strategy "to create a comprehensive set of indicators of status, changes and trends of biological diversity in the territory of the Czech Republic" (Objective 4.1.1). Those indicators will be used for the Strategy evaluation and for better communication with the public about the issue of biodiversity conservation.
As mentioned above, the adoption of the Strategy should be followed by an update of the State Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection Programme of the Czech Republic (SNCLPP, 2009, which will further elaborate on measures which the Strategy imposes, in particular on the Priority Areas 2 and 3 (Objective 4.1.3). Component objectives and SNCLPP measures will be established in these specific areas so as to make it possible to carry out mutual evaluation of the Strategy implementation and the State Programme.
The Strategy has been prepared by a team of authors, under the guidance of the Ministry of the Environment, comprised of staff from the ME, the MA, the NCA CR, and other outside experts and consultants. The Strategy was also discussed and amended by members of the Committee for Landscape, Water and Biodiversity of the Government Council for Sustainable Development.
Objective 1.1 Society Recognising the Value of Natural Resources ()
Objective 1.2 Public Administration ()
Objective 1.3 Private Sector ()
Objective 1.4 Tourism ()
Objective 1.5 Economic Instruments and Financial Support ()
Objective 2.1 Genetic Diversity ()
Objective 2.2 Species ()
Objective 2.3 Invasive Alien Species (the IAS) ()
2.4 Natural habitats ()
Division of nature for the purpose of further examination and conservation is carried out at different levels. In Central Europe, including the Czech Republic, a detailed classification through the means of habitats is most commonly used. Natural habitats are typically created by several similar types of habitats. In addition to natural, or semi-nature of nearby habitats, can be very valuable habitats by man in different rates, thanks mainly to the settlement of endangered or rare species.
To obtain sufficient information, all natural and semi-natural habitats are regularly mapped in the Czech Republic. There are 157 types of habitats, which are included in the 60 types of natural habitats, in the Czech Republic. Most of them are dependent on human activities (i.e. targeted care, or any other type of use, e.g., mowing). Unnatural habitats (which according to the classification of habitats includes, for example, intensely cultivated meadows, forests cultures with coniferous or deciduous tree species, etc.) are predominant (they occupy 83% of the country), i.e. natural or semi-natural habitats occupy only 17% of the land area of the country.
The basic legislation for the protection of habitats is the NCA, which includes the requirements of the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). Unlike in the case of the species, there is not an individual list of specially protected habitats protected by law, i.e. habitats are protected only as objects of protection in the framework of SPAs, Sites of Community Importance or to a limited extent in the framework of the TSES or significant landscape elements.
In the international context the habitat protection is, similarly to the species protection, territorial protection and protection of ecosystem processes, one of the fundamental objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity. The Aichi Target 5 of the CBD Strategic Plan is focused on the habitat protection. The EU Strategy for the field of biodiversity significantly touches upon the habitat protection in Objectives 1 (Action 1 and 4), and partially in Objectives 3 and 6. In the national Strategy documents, the protection of habitats is included mainly in SEP and SNCLPP (2009).
The main tool to maintain and improve the state of the habitats and landscape is the Territorial System of Ecological Stability of the Landscape (TSES). The TSES is implemented to spatial plans at three levels: national, regional, and local. Although a significant part of the TSES has not been implemented in the field, even legal establishment of its components and their inclusion to spatial plans often establishes a sufficient basis for a basic protection of natural habitats in such plots. The TSES is a part of larger network so called “national ecological network” defined in 2012. The ecological network as defined in the referred article might be in general considered as a result of national implementation of the Green Infrastructure.The ecological network is composed of all areas spatially protected under the Act on the Nature Conservation: TSES, protected areas incl. Natura 2000 sites, important landscape elements, nature parks, and internationally recognized areas (that are anyway almost 100% protected under national protected areas). It results in the network covering more than 56% of the country. Although it would look like a sufficient tool to maintain or improve the state of ecological stability of the landscape and natural habitats, it is not so. Still, the successful core of the ecological network is created by protected areas, esp. large-scale, because they are managed directly by their administration. General tools, such as the TSES, are not successful mainly because of lack of active conservation measures. In addition, natural habitat types are not protected by the law as, e.g., protected species. It is the most important aspect leading to insufficient results in achieving the Target 5. Protection of natural habitat types under the Natura 2000 is definitely not an adequate tool when it comes to its geographical scope.The only exception of habitats loss trends are forests, because their area is still increasing. Nonetheless, their state is not favourable thanks to inappropriate tree species composition resulting in current bark beetle infestation.