Almost all nations, including developing ones, have basic environmental protection laws in place, but an enormous gap exists between the letter of the law and what is actually happening on the ground.
The relationship between law and biodiversity is not a new concept. The Convention on Biological Diversity (the CBD) is the main international legal instrument for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of genetic resources. The CBD is implemented through the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs).
NBSAPs are thus the key policy-cum strategy document for achieving the objectives of the CBD. As of January 2017, 189 of the 196 Parties to the Convention had submitted their NBSAPs to the Convention secretariat, and 182 parties
provided their 5th national reports, outlining the ways in which the strategies had been implemented, nearly all countries have reported continued decline in biodiversity. The Third Global Biodiversity Outlook Report published in 2010 indicated that, in many countries, progress towards achieving the objectives of the CBD has been weak and unimpactful.
The loss is due to both direct and indirect pressures including habitat destruction, overexploitation, spread of invasive alien species, climate change and population pressure. Efforts to halt, stop and reverse the loss have given rise to a number of legal, regulatory and policy regimes that are currently under implementation.
The article is written by Balakrishna Pisupati (TransDisciplinary University) and Tomkeen Mobegi (UN Environment).