Czechia - Contribution to the mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 based on the 5th national report to CBD

To report on progress to the EU 2020 biodiversity strategy, the European Commission extracted relevant information from the EU Member States’ 5th national reports to the CBD. Of the 5 countries which had not finalized their national reports at the time of the synthesis (26th of August 2015), Greece, Malta, Portugal and Lithuania provided information to be included in the synthesis.

The 5th national reports were examined, and relevant information on selected actions under Targets 1-6 of the EU biodiversity strategy was directly copied. Thus, the information presented here is in the original language and wording of the 5th national reports.

The focus was on information that is particular to the respective Member State rather than referencing EU wide information. In addition, only information that is not directly reported to the European Commission by Member States was retrieved from the reports. Each Member State had the opportunity to review the synthesis of its report and to provide additional input. For more information, please view here. The 5th national report for Czechia can be downloaded here.

EU target 1

Fully implement the Birds and Habitats Directives

(Please note that information from Member States in relation to Action 1a is supplied to the European Commission via other reports. To avoid duplication of reporting, information relating to Action 1a has not been included in this report

Action 1b: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Creation of a legislative framework regulating zonal planning and land use changes is one of the objectives for optimisation of legislative tools for nature and landscape protection.

Action 1c: Natura 2000 (and other protected areas)

Improved management plans and the optimisation of the system of Special Protected Areas (SPA) from the perspective of representative share and quality of reasons and objectives for protection are one of the objectives of the State Nature Conservation and Landscape Protection Programme of the Czech Republic (SNCLPP).

EU target 2

Maintain and restore ecosystems and their services

In general, the Aichi Target 8 is implemented quite well in national strategies, especially in the updated version of SEP (a number of proposed measures and selected objectives). This progress is closely linked to the fact, that the Czech Republic as one of the EU Member States has transposed a number of directives and regulations into its own national legislation. The main focus of these measures is on air and water pollution. Heat and light pollution remain yet to be sufficiently addressed.

Action 6a & 6b: Ecosystem restoration and green infrastructure

In order to monitor landscape fragmentation such indicators shall be set which show the extent of fragmentation/connectivity of natural and semi-natural ecosystems, rate of forest fragmentation and which can evaluate the rate of fragmentation and regulation of watercourse systems as well. The revised national objectives concerning Aichi Target 5 shall include new indicators, allowing more efficient monitoring of trend changes and achieving of objectives. It also will allow comparison of larger territorial units.

Aichi Target 14 is relatively well incorporated into national strategic and planning documents. This is because the protection of ecosystems, their interconnection and their sustainable use is an obligation of the Czech Republic arising also from other international conventions and EU legislation. Fulfilling these obligations is also in line with priorities of the Czech Republic itself in the field of nature and landscape protection. Aichi Target 14 is reflected especially in national documents such as State Environment Policy (2012), NBSAP (2005) and updated SNCLPP (2009). However it should be noted, the objectives in national documents tend to have the character of general recommendations without specification, how to achieve them. The updated version of NBSAP (2015 – 2025) shall include the methodology of national assessment of ecosystems and their services and also a clear set of objectives in this matter.

EU target 3

Increase the contribution of agriculture and forestry to maintaining and enhancing biodiversity

Target 3a & 3b

The assessment of Aichi Target 7 implementation is clearly limited by setting suitable indicators allowing verification of its fulfilment and of the adopted measures efficiency. NBSAP does not have indicators, which would allow an overall assessment of this target. In this respect the updated NBSAP shall clearly define the objectives and indicators, which should be achieved at the national level.

Target 3a: Agriculture

For areas related to agriculture there are clear indicators, which should be used to monitor how the Aichi Target 7 is being fulfilled. These are indicators tied to farming methods, e.g. nitrogen balance in agrarian systems, soil quality, genetic diversity of domestic animals, population changes in commercially exploited species and also changes in the volume of harvested materials and their production. An interesting indicator could also be monitoring of diversity of produced food. Ecological farming is also an indicator used to show trends in nature-friendly farming.

Target 3b: Forestry

The key component for the forest ecosystem assessment is continuing monitoring of changes in forest types and their composition. It is also necessary to certify the forest areas managed in a sustainable way. Other important indicators are level of forest degradation and changes in the forest production (in meaning of production of wood).

Target 3a & 3b

There are also other important indicators connected in general to all the three above areas [agricultural, aquatic and forest ecosystems]: land use changes, share of products from sources managed in sustainable way, wellbeing and/or perception of existential security/poverty by the communities directly dependent on ecosystem services, rate of involvement of public and private sector into nature conservation measures etc. Most of these indicators shall be incorporated into the updated NBSAP.

Action 8a & 8b: Environmental public goods in the CAP and GAEC cross-compliance

The EU biodiversity strategy 2020 intends to strengthen Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). In the past there were attempts to at least partially assess the impact of environmentally harmful subsidies. The review of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has shown that a lot of subsidies harmful to biodiversity subsidies occur especially in agriculture. This is why the standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC) are introduced, setting fixed conditions for disbursement of direct payments. However there is no complex analysis of harmful subsidies identifying potential conflicts, or overlap of subsidies programmes negatively affecting biodiversity. No assessment of the existing programmes from the perspective of negative impacts on biodiversity has been conducted. Systematic remedy of harmful subsidies requires not only their identification, but also their adjustment. In the view of this objective, the updated NBSAP 2015-2025 shall provide a basic overview of all identified harmful subsidies and shall provide details about the individual steps to eliminate them.

Action 9b: Rural development and biodiversity

NBSAP supports the features, which define landscape character and it defines it as a powerful tool for landscape affected by man. It intends to realise the remaining composition parts of TSES and to limit landscape fragmentation caused by migration barriers.

Action 10: Agricultural genetic diversity

At the national level, Aichi Target 13 is fulfilled by two basic legislative norms – the act No. 148/2003 Coll. about conservation and use of genetic resources of plants and micro-organisms important for food and agriculture and about change in the act No. 368/1992 Coll., about administrative fees, as amended (Plant and Microorganism Genetic Sources Act) and act No. 154/2000 Coll., about cultivation, breeding and registry of farm animals and about change of some related acts (e.g. Breeding Act). The conditions in all these acts and their implementing regulations are carried out within the National Programme on Conservation and Utilisation of Plant, Animal and Microbial Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

NBSAP shall also focus on monitoring of trends of density and distribution of selected species of animals and plants and on monitoring their genetic diversity.

The act No. 148/2003 Coll., about genetic resources of plants and microorganisms defines the conditions and procedures for protection, conservation and exploitation of genetic sources of plants and microorganisms in the Czech Republic and are important for food and agriculture, to maintain biological and genetic diversity of world natural heritage and to allow their use for the needs of present and future generations. These conditions and procedures are defined in the National Programme on Conservation and Utilisation of Plant, Animal and Microbial Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture for 2012 – 2016.

Action 11a & 11b: Forest holders and biodiversity

NBSAP makes an independent assessment of forests including creation of a database of natural forests and a database of occupancy and types of biotopes of lower and higher plants and it intends to conserve or increase the present area of forests as a minimum basis to cover the needs of forest biodiversity conservation while safeguarding all the other forest functions.

Action 12: Biodiversity in forest management plans

Aichi Target 7 is reflected in the relevant national objectives of NBSAP, especially in the section which determines practical principles and a detailed manual of sustainable use of biodiversity components, as well as in the section which applies principles of ecosystem approach in the basic ecosystems and habitats in the Czech Republic into strategic materials of the Ministry of the Environment (MoE) and Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). NBSAP also requested monitoring and assessment of the impact of economic interference, conservation programmes and management plans on biodiversity, with a focus on forests, agriculture and aquatic ecosystems.

For the area of forest biodiversity exploitation, NBSAP defines, how the ecosystem approach principle should be applied, whereas also other, e.g. socio-economic aspects shall be considered. The defined objective was to prepare a strategy for further procedure, when alleviating the negative impacts o on forest biodiversity. Using the outcomes of the already commissioned study, methodology of status description and monitoring of forest ecosystem biodiversity shall be completed.

EU target 4

Ensure the sustainable use of fisheries resources and ensuring good environmental status of the marine environment

Not applicable.

EU target 5

Combat Invasive Alien Species

Inclusion of Aichi Target 9 into national strategic documents of the Czech Republic seems sufficient to some extent (even though they do not explicitly mention year 2020 as a deadline for extermination or suppression of the priority invasive alien species), but on the other hand, a number of measures are defined quite generally and not very specifically. The problem of invasive alien species is reflected in some legislative documents of the Czech Republic, for example the act. No. 114/1992 Coll. about protection of nature and landscape, act No. 326/2004 Coll., about herbal medicine, act No. 289/1995 Coll., about forests, act No. 449/2001 Coll., about hunting, act No. 254/2001 Coll. about water, act No. 99/2004 Coll. about fishing, public notice No. 215/2008 Coll. about measures against introduction and spreading of harmful organisms, plants and plant products. The baseline is the fact that the question of invasive alien species is not covered by a specialised act in Czech legislation yet. The basic indicator of Aichi Target 9 is the number of documented invasive alien species on the territory of the Czech Republic. This indicator is also defined in the State Environment Policy (indicator: invasive species), where it reflects the total amount of invasive alien species and also the share of dangerous invasive species including the share of the species, against which measures are taken.

EU target 6

Help avert global biodiversity loss

Action 17c: Drivers of biodiversity loss

In 2013, the Ministry of the Environment commissioned a study aiming at a methodology to identify and tackle environmentally harmful subsidies. Systematic remedy of harmful subsidies requires not only their identification, but also their adjustment. In the view of this objective, the updated NBSAP 2015-2025 shall provide a basic overview of all identified harmful subsidies and shall provide details about the individual steps to eliminate them.

Action 18a: Resources for global biodiversity conservation

As far as the volume of funding is concerned, the most significant source of financing for environment protection in the Czech Republic is provided by the government in the form of subsidies, no-interest lease and guarantees for commercial loans. Other significant sources of funding for environmental conservation are the State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic, regional budgets as well as budgets of municipalities and regions. Environmental spending is monitored by the Czech Statistical Office (investments and non-investment costs for environmental conservation, economical benefit from activities to protect environment) and Ministry of Finance (expenses for environment protection from public budgets) (SEF 2011). Due to Aichi Target 20 the updated NBSAP strategy shall contain a communication strategy and methodology for using available innovative financial mechanisms and involvement of private sector into the biodiversity conservation financing.

Action 20: Access to genetic resources and sharing of benefits

At present legislative steps are being prepared, which are necessary to ratify the Nagoya Protocol and its subsequent implementation at the national level.