BioSTAR: Landscape of international and transnational cooperative initiatives for biodiversity

Research output: Book / ReportReportAcademic


National governments have largely failed to halt biodiversity loss. Despite ambitious goals and targets set in the intergovernmental process under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the state of biodiversity continues to deteriorate (Díaz et al. 2019). However, an emerging landscape of cooperative biodiversity initiatives outside the formal structure of the CBD suggests that thousands of additional actors such as cities, regions, indigenous peoples and local communities, companies, and civil society organisations – also referred to as “non-state” and “sub-national” actors – are already taking action to reduce biodiversity loss.
This report presents an overview of the landscape of international and transnational cooperative initiatives (ITCIs) for biodiversity, examining the distribution of actors, temporal dynamics of the initiatives and their governance functions. Furthermore, it focuses on the thematic scope of the initiatives addressing CBD objectives, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Aichi Targets, addressed industry sectors, and addressed biodiversity threats. The report also provides an overview of geographic coverage of ITCIs.
Through an analysis of existing databases with the focus on biodiversity, climate, forest, fish, energy, we have identified a subset of 331 inter- or transnational initiatives with a clear focus on biodiversity, policy and governance functions . The selection process involved semi-automated keyword analysis and expert reviews.
This report finds that public, private and civil society actors interact in a number of initiatives for biodiversity. 33% of the initiatives involve only public actors, e.g. national governments and regional or municipal authorities. Hybrid initiatives (including public, private and civil society actors) constitute 21% of the sample. The remaining 28% are private initiatives.
Initiatives engage nearly 10,000 non-state (e.g. companies and non-governmental organisations) and sub-national (e.g. cities and regions) actors, in various biodiversity-related policy fields such as energy, fisheries, agriculture, and forestry.
The report further finds initiatives to be well aligned with the strategic goals for biodiversity governance, such as conservation and sustainable use. They mostly address SDG 15 (Life on land) and SDG 14 (Life below water), and specialize in the Aichi Targets related to causes and direct pressures on the biodiversity. ITCIs for biodiversity focus mainly on information sharing and networking (60%), activities on the ground (33%) and setting standards and commitments (26%). They are active in sectors such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries. The geographical coverage is wide, with the main focus on Europe and Northern Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherInstitute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
Number of pages53
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Publication series

PublisherInstitute for Environmental Studies (IVM)


  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental Governance
  • initiatives
  • Biodiversity conservation


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