Sixth National Report
Section I. Information on the targets being pursued at the national level
National Biodiversity Strategy ()
In 2010, Italy has adopted the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS), as a reference document in order to fulfill national commitments under the Convention and its Protocol. The Strategy covers the period from 2011 to 2020.
The NBS and its mid-term review up to 2020 constitute an instrument for integrating the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources into national sector policies, in line with the objectives set by the European Biodiversity Strategy, the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the Aichi Targets.
The NBS has been organized in three main pillars, linked likewise with strategic targets.
In order to reach this targets, 15 working areas have been identified: 1. Species, habitat and landscape; 2. Protected areas; 3. Genetic resources; 4. Agriculture; 5. Forests; 6. Inland water; 7. Marine environment; 8. Infrastructures and transportation; 9. Urban areas; 10. Health; 11. Energy; 12. Tourism; 13. Research and innovation; 14. Education, information, communication and participation; 15. Italy and global biodiversity. Threats, main targets to tackle and intervention priorities are identified within all working areas.
The NBS targets are consistent with Aichi Biodiversity targets and the Strategic Plan for
Moreover, the NBS is linked to other international or European processes, such as:
• Mid-Term Review of the European Biodiversity Strategy approved in December 2015, highlights the need for greater efforts by Member States in implementation the objectives to stop biodiversity loss by 2020.
• The “Fitness Check” process of the EU Birds and Habitat Directives (the “Nature Directives”) that the European Commission has concluded and published in 2016 assessing conservation status for protected species and habitats.
• The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), aims for an economic and societal transformation, integrating the economic, social and environmental three pillar of sustainable development.
The preparation, implementation and updating of the National Strategy for Biodiversity has required a multidisciplinary approach and a strong sharing collaboration between political decision makers and central and regional administrations, with the support of the academic and scientific experts, considering the requests of the stakeholders, in order to promote social and cultural development, while at the same time achieving the objectives of biodiversity conservation.
The State-Regions Conference has been identified for political decision and supported by:
1) a special National Biodiversity Committee, composed of representatives of the Central Administrations, Regions and Autonomous Provinces;
2) National Observatory for Biodiversity, consisting of representatives of institutions, research institutions, protected areas of national and regional value and scientific societies.
3) Consultation table, to guarantees the involvement of stakeholders.
The NBS targets are strongly correlated with the objectives of the National Strategy for Sustainable Development adopted in Italy in 2017; they are also directly linked to: protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, evaluation and mainstreaming of the Natural Capital and green infrastructures.
Section II. Implementation measures, their effectiveness, and associated obstacles and scientific and technical needs to achieve national targets
The National Biodiversity Strategy incudes the following national measures
Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Give full and appropriate implementation of existing legislation for the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services, including through the reduction of Community contentious matter;
Increase the transparency, accountability and respect for the laws about environmental issues and related to the use of biodiversity, its components, and the ecosystem services, at various levels and in all sectors;
Strengthen communication, understanding, awareness and knowledge of policy makers, stakeholders and citizens on the NBS;
Ensure full implementation of the objectives of the Natura 2000 network, especially with regard to the identification of sites in the marine environment, to the designation of Special Areas of Conservation offshore or onshore, to the effective implementation of conservation measures and to the achievement of the conservation status satisfactory for habitats and species;
Intensify the process of dialogue which started between the competent authorities to strengthen the transparency, effectiveness and efficiency of the impact assessment, even by the development of national guidelines, the implementation of information systems and dedicate websites;
Increase the spatial protection measures of coastal and marine environment, in order to achieve the goal of protecting at least 10% of that environment, as provided by Aichi Target 11 and by the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
Strengthen governance and local partnerships to ensure the achievement of the environmental quality objectives set by the Habitats and Birds Directives, by the Water Framework Directive and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
Maximize synergies between the monitoring and reporting activities required by the Habitats and Birds Directives, the Water Framework Directive, the Marine Strategy framework Directive, and International agreements and conventions related to the biodiversity, including through the sharing of information online, in order to make available data and information which together describe the progress of the NBS;
Develop the cooperation needed to effectively implement the EU Regulation 1143/2014 laying down provisions designed to prevent and manage the introduction and spread of invasive alien species and for the eradication and control of invasive alien species relevant for the Community;
Establish national rules for the ratification and implementation of the Nagoya Protocol, in order to make operational the provisions relating to compliance with the Protocol of the users of genetic resources in the Union introduced with Reg (EU) 511/2014 and Reg. (EU) 1866/2015; ensure adequate communication and awareness action on the issue.
Biodiversity and climate change
Develop restoration and defragmentation of ecosystems as part of spatial planning to promote the contribution of biodiversity to climate change mitigation, for the prevention of the negative effects of climate change on economic activities and for the minimization of the damage associated with them;
Promote the creation and consolidation of green infrastructure for a sustainable use of natural resources, to strengthen the resilience of ecosystems to climate change and supporting national adaptation policies and measures;
Support the development of urban green areas and their continuity with the surrounding rural and forest areas in order to protect biodiversity and ecosystems in the cities and ensure provision of the services they provide, including the mitigation of the effects of climate change.
Biodiversity and economic policies
Mobilize and use efficiently and effectively both EU and national financial resources from all possible sources, including innovative financial mechanisms, in order to ensure adequate levels of funding to meet the goals of the NBS;
Improve monitoring and evaluation of the measures taken in favor of biodiversity in order to ensure transparency and accountability of the resources used and the measurement of their effectiveness;
Ensure the achievement of the conservation objectives, the protection and the efficient use of resources provided for in the National Partnership, or as part of an appropriate management of the Natura 2000 network (consistent with the provisions in Prioritised Action Framework - PAF), both in relation to other policy areas, including tourism, and related EU funds;
Continue the implementation of sectoral policies for agriculture, fisheries and forestry, favoring a more effective integration of biodiversity in the financial planning tools, in decision-making in view of their effects on ecosystem services and natural capital;
Make the best use of the opportunities for strengthening governance and to achieve sustainable agriculture, as part of the territories of protected areas and sites of the Natura 2000 network, offered by the National Rural Network Program 2014/2020, about the instruments of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and rural development and the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity and its ecosystem services;
Ensure the coherence of sectoral policies with national and international commitments on biodiversity, phasing out incentives, including subsidies, harmful to biodiversity and support for sustainable development policies;
Develop forms of collaboration between governments and involvement of private sectors and other stakeholders to support the transition to a green economy, promoting green jobs, taking advantage of synergies between natural and cultural capital, and the spread of good practices;
Promote the adoption of participative tools such as certifications, also in view of a growing demand for transparency and accountability on the part of governments and companies;
Strengthen efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries and the protection of marine ecosystems, in line with the guidelines and objectives laid down in the implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive;
Increase the involvement of the business sector, including trade associations, in the adoption of sustainable production patterns and the use of dedicated funds and instruments;
The measures have allowed to promote an important number of systemic and transversal actions to strengthen coordination between public administrations for biodiversity conservation, with crucial role of protected area.
• Implementation of the ISEA project (Standardized Intervention of the Effective management of marine protected Areas)
The ISEA project was created in 2012, still ongoing, to implement interventions to support the management of Italian Marine Protected Areas (MPA), as well as to strengthen their efficiency. This project allows the development of a network of effectively managed and ecologically representative MPAs in Italy, as required by the Biodiversity Convention.
It is an "educational" process that promotes, among the MPAs, an approach to standardized management which guarantees uniformity in the programming of all MPAs and high management standards through the identification of priority objectives defined on the basis of the need for protection, environmental threats, reduction of human impacts.
• The case study on natural capital accounting in Marine Protected Areas:
In 2014, on the base of the ISEA project, has been adopted the project on natural capital accounting in MPAs. Marine ecosystems are exposed to significant anthropogenic pressure mainly due to the exploitation of biotic and abiotic marine resources. The value of the Marine Protected Areas can be explored using a biophysical perspective based on the accounting of environmental costs. In this study the value of natural capital in the MPAs is assessed applying a biophysical and trophodynamic environmental accounting model based on emergy accounting (emergy is the amount of available energy of one for directly or indirectly required to provide a given flow or storage of energy or matter). The value of natural capital is estimated for the main habitats of the investigated MPAs in terms of the work done by the biosphere for its generation and maintenance.
• Nature 2000 network management database
This database represents a useful framework for organizing standardized conservation measures, an essential element for designation; it contains the fundamental fields on which to articulate specific site measures for habitats and species of Community interest, according to the guidelines and the technical guidelines set by the European Commission.
For the creation of the database, reference was made to instruments currently in use and supporting documentation: Natura 2000 Database, Guidelines for the management of Natura 2000 sites (2002), technical material preparatory to regional decision, standard form.
Some obstacles emerged: limited financial resources; non-homogeneous levels of the initial datasets etc.
Section III. Assessment of progress towards each national target
National Biodiversity Strategy
Italy adopted in 2010 the National Biodiversity Strategy, as a reference document in order to stick to commitments accepted with the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity. NBS aims to merge and integrate biodiversity conservation targets and sustainable use of natural resources within sectorial policies, and as a consequence the implementation of the vision of the Strategy itself. NBS implementation is in line with EU policies dealing with biodiversity, and with European Union Biodiversity Strategy, whose targets are also consistent with Aichi Biodiversity targets.
The Strategy covers the period from 2011 to 2020. In 2015, there was an in-depth assessment and review of the Strategy. A report on the implementation of the strategy will be issued every two years; analyzing the progress towards the achievement of strategic objectives and specific goals in all work areas.
In order to evaluate the efficiency and efficacy of the NBS, a periodic monitoring has been set up.
In the first two years (2011-2012), starting point of the Strategy, the initiatives implemented were almost completely absent and very numerous were the lack of information and priorities necessary for the implementation process (rif. first NBS Report).
Currently, the situation can be considered overturned. Initiatives not started are extremely low (0.5%), while activities under way with an already defined implementation process (59%) are predominant (rif. Third NBS Report).
A summary analysis was carried out on the state of implementation of the priorities identified in the NBS for each Working Area, assigning to each priority an assessment based on information acquired (third Report NBS).
In Figure 2 the data is summarized by percentage progress in the Working Areas.
The state of implementation of the priorities has been categorized with a chromatic scale from green to red, which allows a synthetic comparison of the results obtained (legend Figure 2).
Figure 2 - Achievement of priorities in 15 working areas of NBS (expressed in %): Synthesis of evaluation during the three years (Legend: WA= Working area; SH = Species and Habitats; L=Landscape; PA= Protected Areas; N2000= Natura 2000)
The examination of the graph allows to check how in almost all the areas of work clear progress has been made compared to the previous two years, progress that in some cases have also led to the achievement of the objectives.
Currently, the situation can be considered overturned, as highlighted in Figure 3, which expresses the percentage of implementation in the two-year period 2015-2016, of all the priorities. Initiatives not started are extremely low (0.5%), while activities in progress are predominant (59%) with an already defined implementation process. Furthermore, various priorities have been completed. On the other hand, there are activities with implementation processes to be defined and various information gaps, already highlighted in the II NBS Report.
Figure 3 - Status of implementation of priorities in the period 2015-2016.
The third NBS Report underlines the Italian commitment in implementing the Strategy, as demonstrated by the various initiatives linked both to the working areas and to the key issues, such as Law no. 221/2015 "Environmental measures for promoting green economy and limiting the excessive use of natural resources ", and the National Strategy of Adaptation to Climate Change, which provides the framework for actions to reduce the impact of climate change on the environment and on socio-economic sectors.
Within the specific areas of work, there are various programs and initiatives aimed at achieving the objectives of the Strategy, from the protection of species and habitats to the increase of knowledge on their state of conservation and geographical distribution, from the confrontation of the urgent problem of invasive alien species to the acceleration of progress towards the protection of the marine environment.
Projects and initiatives on agriculture and its relationship with biodiversity are continuing, as demonstrated by the "Natura 2000 and Rural Development" program and the attention given to the link between food and biodiversity during EXPO 2015. The first Report on synergies between Natural Capital and Cultural Capital in the National Parks, demonstrates the crucial role that protected areas play as laboratory of a model of sustainable economic development, and the close relationship between environmental assets and cultural heritage.
On the international front, there are many Memorandums of Understanding signed with several emerging countries to implement actions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Italy is also an active part in all relevant processes at the European and international level, such as the TECUM project (Tackling Environmental Crimes through standardized approach), which aims to strengthen the fight against environmental crimes. At national level, the Mid Term Review of the National Strategy emphasizes the need for a renewed and increased commitment of all institutional levels in order to achieve the objectives. In Italy, the growing attention to relations between biodiversity, economy and social welfare, which also translates into norms such as the Law No. 221/2015 and the related tools - the Committee of Natural Capital, the Minimum Environmental Criteria, Environmental Harmful and Friendly Subsidies Catalogue, as an example - indicates that the right path to implement the National Strategy has been taken.
Monitoring and evaluation of NBS implementation were based also on other tools:
Report on the State of the Environment: this Report represents an update on the main environmental indicators of the country, and an instrument, the widest and most complete, which scientifically deepens the situation of the Italian environment. The Report on the State of the Environment starts from the context already outlined with the document of the European Environment Agency "State and Outlook 2015" and referring to the traditional DPSIR approach (Driving forces, Pressures, State, Impacts, Responses) is built according to a conceptual model that favours a wider method of analysis and interpretation of environmental issues. The model outlined aims to identify the cause-effect relationships and the interactions between the modules, with the aim of constructing the possible scenarios, adopting and enhancing protection policies, setting precise nomenclatures and setting the Report as a support system to decision.
Other reference tools used for assessing progress are the environmental data and information at national level periodically carried out by ISPRA (Institute for Environmental Protection and Research) such as the Yearbook of Environmental Data that offers a complete framework of the state of health of the environment and of the complex interrelations among its components in Italy.
In the context of activities for evaluation and monitoring of the implementation of the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS), a biennial Report is produced and submitted to the approval of the National Biodiversity Committee, composed of representatives of the central administrations, Regions and Autonomous Provinces.
The last monitoring was carried out in the context of the third Report on the implementation of the NBS and related to the two-year period 2015-2016.
The document highlights how the two-year period has been particularly significant for the activities related to the biodiversity issues promoted in Italy.
Section IV. Description of national contribution to the achievement of each global Aichi Biodiversity Target
1. Awareness of biodiversity values
Italy is playing a significant role in contributing to the achievement of Aichi Biodiversity Target 1.
Concerning education, Guidelines for teachers, containing teaching material, have been produced in 2014 by the Ministry for the Environment, in collaboration with the Ministry for Education. In 2016 a Charter on environmental education (the “Rome Charter”) has been signed by two Ministers (Environment and Education) to identify concrete actions on environmental education. Both the Guidelines and the Charter contain sessions dedicated specifically to biodiversity and ecosystem services. As a follow-up of the Guidelines and the Charter, a new agreement between the two Ministries has been signed in December 2018 to support proposals and initiatives on environmental education and with a view to produce a National Plan.
Moreover, in 2015 during the Universal Exposition (EXPO) in Milan, in the context of the theme "Feeding the planet, energy for life", the Ministry of the Environment took part in the themes of biodiversity and sustainable development. In particular, the pavilion "the biodiversity park" has been promoted and dedicated to the enhancement of the natural heritage and biodiversity of Natural protected areas, including the experiences and excellences of organic farming in Italy. Moreover, different Conferences have been organized on: sustainable development, nutrition, natural capital, mountain territories, sustainable fishing, protected areas, etc.
In 2015 and 2016, various information and awareness campaigns have been promoted on the conservation of genetic resources and fair distribution of the benefits. In particular, in 2016 a workshop was organized to illustrate the contents of the Nagoya Protocol and the EU Regulation n. 511/2014, which was attended by both members of the institutions and the concerned public and private sectors. An illustrative brochure on Nagoya Protocol was published on the Ministry of the Environment website.
In 2016, the Ministry of the Environment promoted some thematic exhibitions related to the conservation of biodiversity as a tool for information and awareness, also in view of COP13 of the Convention on Biological Diversity held in Cancun.
In relation to the application of Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species, various information and awareness initiatives have been carried out and an agreement was signed in 2016 between the Ministry for the Environment and ISPRA with the aim of improving general knowledge of the public on biological invasions, highlighting the motivations behind the activation of prevention and management measures; since the launch of the 2018 communication campaign, the following actions have been promoted: videos, radio spots, banners for social media and content hubs.
Please see Target 9, for additional information.
The CREA (Council for agricultural research and analysis of the agrarian economy), the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies and the Ministry of the Environment, in 2018, promoted the event EU Nature 2000 Day, which favoured the meeting, confrontation and collection of events of interest, involving all national and regional stakeholders on the themes of Natura 2000 and biodiversity, protected areas and sustainable agriculture, on the basis of opportunities, experiences and best practices of rural development 2014/2020, also with reference to the post 2020 prospects.
In 2017 the National Rural Network 2014-2020, the CREA and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies organized the Mountain Agriculture Forum to promote a confrontation and sharing of proposals for sustainable development of mountain areas.
The projects: National Biodiversity Network and the NaturaItalia Portal, representing important tools for the National Biodiversity Strategy, allowed the promotion, awareness, dissemination and sharing of information on the various items related to biodiversity and ecosystems.
The Citizen Science project “MONitoring CSMON-LIFE” has permitted to activate campaigns on topics such as climate change, presence of alien species, protection of rare species and monitoring of environmental alteration.
The project "Monitoring of insects with public participation" (MIPP), coordinated by the Carabinieri Forestali, has been directed to develop and test standardized monitoring methods for the assessment of the conservation status of insect species inserted in the annexes of the Habitats Directive.
The Life project “Sic2Sic” aims to promote a conscious and active citizens’ participation to the protection of nature. It tracks a network of connections among 169 Natura 2000 sites, by cycling 6000 km in 7 regions representative of Italian biodiversity. Cyclist involvement, together with "Learning by Cycling" events, represent both an unconventional model of communication and a tool to stimulate citizens to be actively involved to the nature protection and to contribute the increase and the spread of social awareness on this issue. It also establishes a direct contact between citizens and local institutional actors, associations and business activities.
In recent years, significant activities have been carried out in the context of various LIFE + projects, with the participation of local partnerships and various institutional actors (regions, protected areas, Carabinieri Forestali), Universities and local communities, aimed at eradication, control, and raising awareness of the main invasive alien species (flora and fauna) that pose a threat to habitats and native Italian species. These are concrete activities that contribute to the exchange of experiences on the fight against one of the major causes of biodiversity loss. The projects experiment the approaches and techniques for the eradication of invasive alien species and methods for monitoring and restoring native populations and habitats (see target box 9).
2. Integration of biodiversity values
The Italian National Biodiversity Strategy has worked to integrate the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity into national policies, for its intrinsic and tangible value and for the importance of services ecosystems.
In 2017, Italy adopted the National Sustainable Development Strategy, that is based on a renewed global framework, aimed at strengthening the often fragmented path of sustainable development worldwide. The Strategy is the first step in implementing at national level the principles and objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and is structured in five main areas: People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership, where each area is divided into national strategic objectives that have a strongly integrated nature. In particular, the Planet area contains objectives directly linked to the protection of marine and terrestrial biodiversity, to the evaluation and mainstreaming of the Natural Capital, to the green infrastructures of the territories and to the strengthening of the services provided by the ecosystems. The objectives of the Prosperity and Partnership areas also have significant effects on the protection of biodiversity, working on the transformation of production and consumption models, the other on development cooperation. A sixth area identifies transversal fields of action and key levers to initiate, guide, manage and monitor the integration of sustainability into national policies, plans and projects.
Italy contributes to promote the knowledge of Italy's natural capital and its state of health in order to guarantee the capacity of nature to provide, over time, goods and services that are the basis of the well-being of current and next generations. Despite the availability of important information bases, there is still much to be done in order to achieve a reliable and comprehensive estimate of natural capital, i.e. the measurement of the physical and economic dimensions of stocks and environmental flows. In particular, the Law n. 221 of 28 December 2015 “Environmental provisions to promote measures of green economy and for the containment of excessive use of natural resources”, article 67, established the Natural Capital Committee and provided tools and indications to introduce in Italy a system for the evaluation and accounting of Natural Capital. The involvement in this Committee of other ministries and institutions allows greater integration of the biodiversity theme, facilitating the reporting of financial flows for biodiversity. (Please see Target 14, for additional information).
In 2016, a workshop on integration and synergies between the implementation of the Rural Development Programme (RDPs) measures and the conservation measures of Natura 2000 sites, was organized jointly by the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry of Agricultural Policies, with the participation of Regions, Protected areas and stakeholders.
The Strategic Plan for Tourism (SPT) (2017-2022) aims to revive Italy’s leadership on the tourism market and boost the contribution of tourism to the economic, social and sustainable development of its local areas. The Plan acts on key leverages such as technological and organizational innovation, skill enhancement, and services quality, which will all be increasingly integrated with sustainable use of resources and their physical and cultural accessibility.
The Ministry of Agriculture approved, with the Decree n. 7139/2015, the Strategic Plan for Innovation and Research in the agricultural food and forestry sector that aims to plan the future of agriculture in a sustainable way, capable to guarantee the economic vitality of farmers and rural communities and meeting citizens' expectations. (see target 7).
The Ministry of Environment is working on the definition of ambitious and integrated environmental and economic policies through the measures on Green Economy and Resource Efficiency (L.221/2015), the preparation of a Green Act for the decarbonization of the economy, resource efficiency (circular economy) and sustainable finance. Moreover, the Ministry is pursuing the definition of the National Strategy on Sustainable Development, coherent with the SDGs agreed in the UN framework, and the implementation of the ratification of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
In this same period – with the same law on Green Economy and Resource Efficiency that has required the Catalogue of Environmental Subsidies - the activities of the Natural Capital Committee, instituted by the President of the Council of Ministries have been activated; it aims to start the value and the contribution assessment of natural capital to economic activities so as to better understand its role in public budget, economic and financial choices.
In particular, in 2016, as established by art. 68 of Law n. 221/2015 “Environmental measures to promote green economy and reduce the over-consumption of natural resources” the Italian Ministry for the Environment published the first catalogue of environmentally friendly subsidies and environmentally harmful subsidies. The catalogue is part of a general framework that aims to analyse and evaluate fiscal erosion, tax expenditures as well as existing tax breaks and incentives.
For several years, Italy has promoted incentives for the production of electricity from renewable sources, including thermal energy as well as to improve energy efficiency. Tax incentives are also promoted in the form of tax deductions for improving energy efficiency in buildings.
With regard to the reduction or elimination of perverse incentives, the legislator intervened to regulate the possibility of realizing photovoltaic plants on the ground, now limited when placed in agricultural areas, harmonizing it with the objectives of containment of land use in order to safeguard local agro-food traditions, biodiversity, cultural heritage and rural landscape. In particular, with the Law 28/2011 the access to incentives is not permitted for photovoltaic systems with modules located on the ground in agricultural areas.
4. Use of natural resources
Italy is pursuing a new policy aimed at sustainability and innovation capable of increasing product competitiveness and promoting sustainable consumption patterns, in line with the commitments adopted under the Paris Agreement on climate change, Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development, the G7 and the European Union.
This approach is an important step for the implementation of the broader National Strategy for sustainable development adopted in 2017, contributing in particular to the definition of the objectives of the efficient use of resources and more circular and sustainable production models. In this context, the great challenge that Italy is facing in the next decade is to respond adequately and effectively to complex environmental and social dynamics, while maintaining the competitiveness of the production system.
In this context, in 2017, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Development published the document "Towards a circular economy model for Italy” in order to provide a general framework for circular economy, as well as to define strategic positioning on the this topic.
An important reference event for the green and circular economy is ECOMONDO, a fair that every year in November in Rimini city, promotes the green and circular economy in the Euro-Mediterranean area; an international event that combines all sectors of the circular economy into one platform: from the recovery of materials and energy to sustainable development.
In order to promote the collaboration of the various public and private operators that in various capacities intend to promote the industrial symbiosis as an instrument of eco-innovation and of the transition to the circular economy, ENEA (Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) promoted in 2017 the establishment Symbiosis Users Network (SUN). After that, the first Convention "Industrial symbiosis as a driver for the development of the circular economy in Italy: state of the art and perspectives" was held, an opportunity to focus the attention of productive world and technical and scientific world on the current status of the effective application of industrial symbiosis in Italy, on successful cases and on economic and environmental opportunities deriving from strategies for the valorisation of resources, with particular attention to the industrial sector.
In 2016, the State-Regions Conference agreed for the mid-term review of the National Biodiversity Strategy, highlighting the priorities for intervention and the need to integrate conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in national policies of sector, consistent with the objectives set by the European Biodiversity Strategy.
In support of the strategies for the Action Plan on circular economy and future funding, the European Commission has launched the European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform - ECESP. In this context, in 2018, the Ministry of the Environment promoted the Italian Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform – ICESP, for convergence and comparison of the various initiatives in a coordinated and coherent way in Europe.
The Law n. 221 of 28th December 2015, is the first Italian law in favour of the green-economy. The various measures are aimed to promote circular economy, sustainable mobility, renewable energy and environmental protection and natural resources.
The main provisions of the Law include:
• sustainable mobility
• incentives to improve the collection of secondary raw materials and to promote composting
• facilitating the use of industrial by-products and the purchase of products deriving from recycled post-consumer materials or from the recovery of waste and materials
• promotion of "oil free" areas and incentives for renewable sources such as mycro-hydroelectric and biomass.
In particular, the art. 55, Law n. 221/2015, promotes the preparation of the National Strategy of the Green Communities which identifies the value of rural and mountain areas that intend to exploit in a balanced way the main resources available, primarily water, woods and landscape, and supports exchange relationships with urban and metropolitan communities in order to set up, a sustainable development plan in the following fields: agro-forestry heritage, water resources, renewable energy, sustainable tourism, mountain, energy efficiency, zero waste production, mobility services.
The ISPRA Report on the consumption of soil in Italy - 5th edition 2018 - provides the updated picture of the processes of land transformation, which continue to cause the loss of a fundamental resource, the soil, with its functions and related ecosystem services. The Report analyses the evolution of land consumption within a broader framework of territorial transformations at different levels, through indicators useful for evaluating the characteristics and the consumption trends, and provides assessments on the impact of the growth of artificial cover soil. The data are produced with a detail on a national, regional and municipal scale, including through the commitment of the National System for the Protection of the Environment (SNPE).
With regard to land use legislation, Italy is currently working on the preparation of a legislative proposal on land consumption with the aim to determine, at national level, the quantitative limit of reduction of the land consumption in view of no net land take by 2050, as established by the European Commission.
5. Loss of habitats
The Natura 2000 network and the Natural Protected Areas have an important role to play in achieving the goal of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2020. (see Target 11 for more information)
Habitat Directive 92/43/EEC is the main driver for habitat conservation actions in Italy. In order to measure, and hence reduce, habitat loss, establishing a national monitoring program on conservation status of habitat types of Community interest is mandatory. Aiming to provide a common standardized and shared protocol for the surveillance of conservation status of these habitats, the Italian National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA ) published in 2016 specific guidelines for the in-situ activities (with an executive summary in English) available at http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/public_files/direttiva-habitat/Manuale-142-2016.pdf
By applying these standardized approach, the consistency of data, and results, will be strengthen, improving the efficiency of the investigation on threats and pressures and the soundness of appropriate conservation measures.
At the same time the activities for a National Plan for habitat monitoring have been started, under the coordination of ISPRA and with the collaboration of scientific societies and academics. This Plan will ensure a scientific sound/cost-effective sampling design, that will provide data for the assessment of the conservation status of national habitats.
An important overview on conservation status of specie and habitats arises from the Reports produced every 6 years within the Habitat Directive (92/43/CEE) and Bird Directive (147/09/CE), giving information on distribution, population size, short- and long-term trends, conservation threats. The overall evaluation covers: 306 bird species (52.4% with positive trend, 33.7% stable, 11.2% negative trend, the remaining is unknown); 629 other animal species (44% favourable conservation status, 33% inadequate, 18% unfavourable conservation status, 5% unknown); 107 plant species (34% favourable conservation status, 40% inadequate, 10% unfavourable conservation status, 16% unknown); 253 habitat types (22% favourable conservation status, 41% inadequate, 28% unfavourable conservation status, 9% unknown). https://www.minambiente.it/pagina/monitoraggio-e-rendicontazione
Another national program on habitat types of Community interest has been launched in 2018 with the PON program (see Target 19 for specific information), after these results a more suitable collection of scientific data (both vegetational and environmental) on habitats will be available for analysis and launching proper conservation actions.
In Italy in recent decades there has been a constant expansion of the national forest area. This is a slow and gradual process that has brought forest resources to around 11 million hectares, about 31.6% of the national land area (it was 25.8” in 1990. Italy’s forest cover is comparable to those of other Central and Northern European countries. This land use and land-cover changes are linked both to active afforestation and reforestation interventions and, to a higher extent, to natural processes of vegetation succession and the expansion of the forest on abandoned croplands and pastures, especially in hilly and mountainous areas. The expansion of Italian forests is associated with mainly positive environmental effects, including increased biodiversity and carbon storage capacity, and greater supply of woody biomass for energy purposes, replacing and integrating fossil energy sources. On the other hand, it should be noted that the abandonment of agricultural land, directly linked to forest expansion, is generally associated with negative environmental, social and economic effects.
Forests, at the base of Italy's wealth of biodiversity, offer to human communities a series of services and benefits, defined as "ecosystem services", which have contributed to the birth and development of cultures and human society itself.
One of the main problems for national forest resources is mainly wild fires, which mainly affect the south of the country. The phenomenon is destined to become more serious, with increasing costs for the community, both in terms of prevention and control, and especially of environmental damage; this is exacerbated by the increase in temperatures and the decrease in rainfall, also induced by climate change. Moreover, precisely these changes could, from now to the end of the century, significantly alter the physiological processes and the same biomass produced by plants. Other important factors of disturbance and environmental pressure are represented by the presence of pollutants such as tropospheric ozone, which is able to cause damage and reduction of biomass in forest species, as well as the spread of exotic species to the detriment of native species . (Environmental Data Yearbook, ISPRA 2017)
Concerning Forest Fire Prevention Plans for national protected areas, as indicated in art. 8, Law 353/2000, a stable system situation has been reached, in which the individual multi-year plans are renewed on expiry and updated every year.
The National Forest Forum, in 2016, through an important moment of confrontation and participation among the main actors, has defined and shared the principles for a new national political and legislative framework and concrete protection and enhancement of the Italian forest heritage; on the base of the Forum, Italy has adopted the Legislative Decree 3 April 2018, n.34 on forests and forestry supply. The measure aims to strengthen the institutional coordination carried out by the State towards the Regions and local authorities, as well as to formulate national guidelines on planning, protection and active management of the national forest heritage.
In the framework of the Law 221/2015, the Reports on Natural Capital in Italy, also presents scenarios of climate change and impacts on forest ecosystems and ecosystem services, the incidence of fires and other element of pressures such as consumption of soil and fragmentation.
With the Decree n. 7139/2015 the Ministry of Agriculture has approved the Strategic Plan for Innovation and Research in the agricultural sector that describes the areas of intervention for forest sector innovation in the period 2014-2020.
The National Rural Network Program 2014/2020, aimed at strengthening the central and regional institutional governance and capacity to implement the Natura 2000 Network (Rural development plans 2014/2020), has developed actions to achieve the following priority areas: preserving, restoring and enhancing ecosystems related to agriculture and forestry.
The key actions for the sustainable use of forest areas and for the conservation of biodiversity are foreseen in the 2014-2020 rural development plans, through which different measures of interest have been activated for the forest sector and in particular for afforestation, non-productive investments and silvo-environmental interventions for the protection and prevention of forest fires.
6. Sustainable fisheries
Italy participates in the effort to contain the impact of fisheries pursued for some time by the EU and reiterated strongly by the new Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), whose financial instrument is represented by the EMFF - European Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Fund (Regulation (EU) No. 508/2014). This regulation must be included in the context of Integrated Maritime Policy, which established a general architecture of maritime policies by integrating a series of transversal tools, including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Blue Growth and Directive 2014/89 / EU on Maritime Space Planning. These legislative instruments aim to achieve a harmonious use of the whole of marine resources by providing spatial planning tools in order to foster economic growth associated with the different uses of the sea.
As part of the Marine Strategy implementation, Italy achieved monitoring programs and completed the preparation process of the measurements program, consequential to the three preparatory phases of the Marine Strategy (initial assessment, identification of GES and Target, definition of monitoring programs).
With regard to the 2014-2020 EMFF Operational Program, Italy has undertaken direct actions to support a more sustainable fisheries policy and in particular by identifying specific measures such as the protection and restoration of biodiversity and marine ecosystems and compensation schemes in field of sustainable fishing activities; limiting the impact of fishing on the marine environment and adapting fishing to the protection of species; innovation related to the conservation of marine biological resources; the added value, quality of products and use of unwanted catches.
In Italy, the knowledge of the status of fishery resources exploited by fishing and the monitoring of the fishing vessel activity in Italian seas are entrusted to the "Italian National Program for the collection of primary biological, environmental technical and socio-economic data in the fisheries sector", carried out