Twenty months after release of Te Mana o Te Taio – Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy 2020 (ANZBS), Government has released a much meatier document – the Strategy’s Implementation Plan.
The Strategy identified five major outcomes to be achieved by 2050. These align closely with the five strategic goals of the Hawke’s Bay Biodiversity Strategy 2015-2020. The first two outcomes/goals of both Strategies focus on restoring and securing the future for indigenous ecosystems, habitats, and species; three more link the health, well-being and prosperity of New Zealanders to a healthy nature.
Three foundational pou (pillars) define the approach to achieving the desired ‘transformational change’: 1) getting the structure right; 2) empowering action by all New Zealanders; and 3) action to restore, protect, and allow sustainable use of indigenous biodiversity.
The Implementation Plan for ANZBS then lays down a pathway to achieving the strategic outcomes via 13 major Objectives which encompass 55 more specific Goals to be achieved by 2025.
The substance of the Plan embraces full partnership with Māori, and links to other major conservation initiatives like Predator Free 2050 and Jobs for Nature.
I’m encouraged that the Plan explicitly acknowledges that “Biodiversity protection is at the heart of economic activity” (Objective 3). The Plan recognises that success depends on all New Zealanders, and it notes the key role of regional initiatives such as Biodiversity Hawke’s Bay in linking the many partners and stakeholders required for biodiversity restoration.
The Green Party has applauded the new Implementation Plan, with Eugenie Sage saying: “We’re delighted to see a clear pathway for meeting the strategy’s goals,” while also slating the Government for the lack of progress in establishing new marine protected areas. Other political parties have yet to release comment on the plan.
Writing a plan, even a very good plan, is the easy part. I applaud the plan, but it’s only the first step in a decades long journey. Future governments may not show the commitment or provide funds needed to sustain progress.
The ANZBS begins with an epigram that defines the rationale for urgent action: “Ina raru ana te taiao, kei te raru hoki tātou — When nature is in trouble, so are we.”
This plan is only the beginning. It will only be as good as the urgency shown to advance its goals and the resources provided.
Nature is in big trouble now – it’s time to get busy.
You can read the ANZBS here.
The Implementation Plan can be found here.