Objective 5.1 - Promote and support stakeholder involvement inter alia through partnerships at all levels of decision-making relating to biodiversity.
Stakeholders (Regional, Federal and local authorities, farmers, fishermen, conservationists, natural resource managers, foresters, the private sector, researchers, non-governmental organisations, etc.) must all be able to have a say in the decisions affecting biodiversity. The Aarhus Convention (Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters) grants rights to the public and imposes obligations on public authorities regarding access to information and public participation and access to justice. Belgium signed this convention on 25 June 1998 and ratified it on 23 January 2003.
Individual behaviours need to be addressed, as individuals are biodiversity actors that need to be responsabilized. Specific methodology needs therefore to be developed.
Partnerships that actively link stakeholders should be developed in order to share information and expertise and promote positive linkages between biodiversity and other sectors. This implies consultation and collaboration between and within the different authorities and stakeholders in the field. Participation by the different stakeholders will increase their cooperation and involvement. This will increase the support for biodiversity protection and so stimulate the carrying out of actions in this area.
Furthermore, collaboration in a complementary and integrated way between administrations, both from different sectors as from different policy levels (federal, regional and local levels), on the basis of the subsidiary principle, is crucial to protect biodiversity.
Several initiatives to involve stakeholders have already been taken; there are ‘Plan Communaux pour le développement de la Nature, PCDN’, which are municipal initiatives based on local partnership on nature development aiming for the preservation and development of biodiversity by taking account of the ecological network; and also River Contracts that brings together all the actors of a river valley with the aim to reach a consensus on an action programme for the restoration of the water course, the river banks and surroundings and the water resources. Invited are representatives of the political, administrative, socio-economic, educational, scientific and associative worlds.