Header photo: The Berkel River near Zutphen © Marten Schoonman, Naturalis

Dutch nature and biodiversity insufficiently protected

Over the past decade, several measures have been taken to protect Dutch nature and biodiversity [1]Sanders, M. E., Henkens, R. J. H. G., & Slijkerman, D. M. E. (2019). Convention on biological diversity: Sixth national report of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (No. 156). Statutory Research … Continue reading. However, these have proven to be insufficient: none of the biodiversity targets for 2020 has been achieved and no single European country counts as many endangered animal and plant species as the Netherlands [2]PBL (2020) Staat van instandhouding EU-soorten en habitattypen (2020) (indicator 0030, versie 57, 07-09-2020) Website Balans van de Leefomgeving. Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, Den Haag. It is crucial to halt biodiversity loss and to restore nature. Not only to preserve all the beautiful species the Netherlands, but also to ensure sustainable food supply, clean water, a healthy living environment and to address the climate crisis. According to the IPBES, the rapid decline of species poses at least as great a threat to mankind as global warming.

New targets for biodiversity

2022 is an important year for biodiversity worldwide. The United Nations Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15) is to take place in Montreal, Canada. At this summit, new targets to conserve and restore biodiversity will be set for 2030.

The Netherlands will participate in the Biodiversity Conference and will also commit to the new targets that will be set. As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands already recently committed itself to protect 30% of its lands, rivers, lakes, and wetlands by 2030. To achieve these international targets, we need a set of measurable national targets for biodiversity.

In 2021, IUCN NL published a Dutch action agenda for biodiversity. It contains over 150 commitments by organizations from various parts of society.

Targets for nature restoration

Dutch policies and actions for nature conservation lack coherence at a national level: in our highly decentralized governance system, different authorities and organizations apply diverse approaches and strategies. The coherence and sum of these approaches and strategies are not always clear enough, which leaves uncertainty as to the extent to which these policies and actions will actually lead to the conservation and restoration of biodiversity.

To turn the tide for nature in the Netherlands, we need a joint strategy with a clear, shared set of national targets. These targets and the monitoring of progress towards them should be based on the most up-to-date knowledge of biodiversity, policy objectives and nature conservation. The National Biodiversity Dashboard is the instrument that will help achieve this.

‘In line with international and European agreements, we must set ambitious national targets to restore Dutch biodiversity in the Netherlands. Both government and civil society need to make great efforts to involve the whole of society in this process. By close monitoring, we will be able to see our progress towards the targets we set.’

Coenraad Krijger, director IUCN NL

What is the National Biodiversity Dashboard?

The National Biodiversity Dashboard (NBD) will be a widely shared and used instrument to measure progress of biodiversity restoration and to guide strategies and policies. The Dashboard will consist of a limited, carefully chosen set of indicators that policy-makers and developers can use to assess their ambitions and strategies for biodiversity and direct them towards reaching the national targets. In this way, the Dashboard helps accelerate the restoration of biodiversity in the Netherlands by providing targeted, insightful information.

The National Biodiversity Dashboard will go live on May 22 of 2024.

What does the Dashboard look like?

The targets of the NBD are divided into four themes that together lead the Netherlands towards biodiversity restoration. These are: improving biodiversity; conserving and expanding nature; reducing the pressures on biodiversity; and finally encouraging systems change.

Based on these themes, indicators have been defined that show the state of biodiversity and thus the progress towards biodiversity restoration. Examples are the area of restored ecosystems, nitrogen emissions and the extent to which harmful subsidies have been eliminated.

Curious about the themes, targets and appearance of the National Biodiversity Dashboard?

Our Partners

IUCN NL, Naturalis, Soorten NL and Sovon are working together with a range of governmental and non-governmental organizations and knowledge institutions to develop the National Biodiversity Dashboard. With our shared expertise and broad network, we are developing a Dashboard that will provide a useful and solid instrument to steer interventions and policy measures to reach the targets for biodiversity restoration.

What you can do

Would you like to contribute to the further development of the National Biodiversity Dashboard? Then contact Hanneloes Weeda at hanneloes.weeda@iucn.nl.

Frequently asked questions about the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • How is the Convention on Biological Diversity process organised?

    The Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity convene every two years to hold a Conference of Parties (CoP). During the conference more specific agreements are made on components of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and are elaborated. Targets are also established for protecting biodiversity over a longer period (10 years). Countries regularly report on their progress in achieving the targets. The summit in Montreal is the fifteenth edition of this conference (CoP15).

    The conference saw the adoption of the Global Biodiversity Framework with 2030 targets after two weeks of intensive negotiations.

    Read the Global Biodiversity Framework

  • What can I do to contribute to the Convention on Biological Diversity?

    One of the lessons of the past 10 years is that achieving biodiversity targets requires commitment from the whole of society, with companies also playing a large role. In the new Global Biodiversity Framework, for instance, the financial sector is given a bigger role than before. Contact IUCN NL to discuss how your organisation can contribute.

  • What is included in the Global Biodiversity Framework?

    Some key goals with concrete targets and deadlines are:

    • At least 30 % of land, freshwater and coastal and marine areas effectively protected by 2030
    • Decrease in introduction of invasive species by at least 50 % by 2030
    • At least 50 % reduction of pollution to levels not harmful to biodiversity by 2030, including excess nutrients and risks from pesticides
    • Abolish, phase out and redirect by 2030 at least US$500 billion per year of subsidies and other incentive schemes harmful to biodiversity
    • Mobilise at least US$200 billion per year for national biodiversity strategies by 2030, of which at least US$30 billion for developing countries.

    An important addition compared to previous global agreements is the recognition of the contribution and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities as custodians of key areas for global biodiversity. Including the agreement that they should be involved in decision-making on their territories.

  • What is the Convention on Biological Diversity?

    The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is one of the three conventions established at the UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. In addition to the Framework Convention on Climate Change, a treaty to conserve biodiversity was also signed. In 2011, twenty specific targets were defined for the treaty, the Aichi targets. These strategic targets came to an end in 2020, which means that new targets must be defined. In December 2022, new targets were set for biodiversity restoration at the Biodiversity Conference in Montréal, Canada (CoP15).

    Together, the new targets form the Global Biodiversity Framework. The new Global Biodiversity Framework adopted decisions with the ambition to end biodiversity loss globally by 2030 and restore biodiversity by 2050.

  • What role does IUCN NL play in the Convention on Biological Diversity?

    IUCN NL provides advice and support to companies and governments on international biodiversity policy, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). For example, IUCN NL was commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV) to produce the Dutch Action Agenda for Biodiversity ahead of CoP15. The Action Agenda consists of more than 150 biodiversity initiatives taken by different groups in society and contributed to the positioning of the national government.

    Furthermore, IUCN NL is developing the National Dashboard Biodiversity, in which we compile knowledge to steer Dutch biodiversity targets and monitor progress towards them.

    IUCN NL also works on the implementation of the CBD, for example by conducting projects, providing knowledge products, and offering a neutral platform for Dutch nature organisations.

    IUCN NL aligns itself with IUCN’s position on the Global Biodiversity Framework.

    Learn more about IUCN’s position

  • What role does the Netherlands play in the Convention on Biological Diversity?

    The Netherlands is one of the countries that signed the treaty in 1992 and will also attend the Biodiversity Summit. As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands is committed to the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2030. This played a major role in the Netherlands’ position-taking on the Biodiversity Convention.

    It is especially urgent for the Netherlands to translate the international agreements laid down in the Global Biodiversity Framework into national plans as soon as possible, given the state of nature. The Dutch government is already taking important steps in this regard by addressing the nitrogen crisis and investing in the size and quality of our natural areas.


  • Who signed the Global Biodiversity Framework?

    The Convention on Biological Diversity has been signed by 195 countries. This makes it one of the most widely supported international environmental treaties. In addition, the European Union, and thus the Netherlands, has signed the treaty.

    With their signature, countries commit to preserve biodiversity, use biodiversity sustainably and share the costs and benefits of biodiversity fairly between countries.

  • Why is the Convention on Biological Diversity important?

    The Convention on Biological Diversity is the ultimate international policy mechanism for addressing biodiversity loss. Global cooperation is crucial for tackling the loss of biodiversity, due to the numerous and transnational causes of the problem. The Biodiversity Summit represents the most important event at which this can be achieved.

Learn more about biodiversity restoration?

Maxime Eiselin
Senior Expert Nature-based Solutions
Caspar Verwer
Senior Expert Nature Conservation
Hanneloes Weeda
Grants and Funding Manager
Phone: 020-3018246


1 Sanders, M. E., Henkens, R. J. H. G., & Slijkerman, D. M. E. (2019). Convention on biological diversity: Sixth national report of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (No. 156). Statutory Research Tasks Unit for Nature & the Environment. https://library.wur.nl/WebQuery/wurpubs/554190
2 PBL (2020) Staat van instandhouding EU-soorten en habitattypen (2020) (indicator 0030, versie 57, 07-09-2020) Website Balans van de Leefomgeving. Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, Den Haag