Monitoring, reporting and verification of international cooperative initiatives for biodiversity

Research output: Book / ReportReportAcademic


A growing number of international and transnational cooperative initiatives, including thousands of state, non- and sub-state actors, engage in governance for biodiversity beyond the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). While this trend provides new opportunities for effective biodiversity governance beyond the formal international regime, it also raises questions about broader normative questions such as accountability. This report analyses how accountability is operationalized, i.e. the mechanisms to hold actors responsible for their commitments and actions, across 99 initiatives, focusing on whether monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) frameworks are in place. MRV is not only important for accountability but might also tell us something about ambition levels and potential effectiveness.
The results show that the number of international and transnational cooperative initiatives monitoring their activities is relatively large, but decreases quickly when moving on to reporting and verification. While 82% of the initiatives monitor their performance, only 34% have quantitative targets. 66% of the international and transnational cooperative initiatives publicly present their performance results in the form of a report. Only 34% conduct annual reporting. Finally, performance is verified in less than a quarter of the sample. 23% of initiatives conduct verification themselves and 18% have an independent body or consultant checking their performance. Sanctions are applied in only 10% of the cases.
This analysis provides better understanding of accountability mechanisms among non- and sub-state actors. It offers useful insights for policy-makers, environmental organisations or researchers. The MRV of biodiversity governance requires further investigation to identify to whom the initiatives report and how these mechanisms can support the primary goal of halting biodiversity loss.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherInstituut voor Milieuvraagstukken, Vrije Universiteit
Commissioning bodyThe Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL)
Number of pages43
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020

Publication series



  • Biodiversity
  • Environmental Governance
  • initiatives
  • Biodiversity conservation


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