- to recognise and document trends,
- to support a policy targeted at sustainability,
- to specify quantitative goals and
- to examine the success of measures taken.
Commitment of monitoring
The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) went into force in 1993. It represents a legally binding framework to the signatory states. Thus, the legally binding responsibility for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity also includes monitoring and documentation obligations of the national implementation process of the CBD. Of special importance for plant genetic resources is the "International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture". The Treaty represents a binding legal framework to the signatory states. The signatory states of the International Treaty have committed themselves to implement documentation and monitoring systems to plant genetic resources. The Treaty went into force in 2004.
For an efficient monitoring of agrobiodiversity it is crucial to developed well defined biodiversity indicators. An indicator should serve to quantify and simplify phenomena and helps to make complex facts understandable and presentable. Indicators already exist for many economic or social aspects but indicators for biodiversity are still few. Biodiversity is - literally - divers, and a challenge regarding the development of suitable indicators. Therefore, there is still an urgent need for the development of (agro)biodiversity indicators.
Development of agrobiodiversity indicators
Biodiversity indicators are urgently requested at international level by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO). Therefore, the main developments of agrobiodiversity indicators have been initiated at the international level within these programmes and institutions. At Pan-European level input to the biodiversity indicator development is given by the Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (PEBLDS). At EU level indicators are developed in the context of the EU Sustainable Development Strategy, the EU Biodiversity Strategy with its plans of action, and in the course of the implementation of the Council regulation (EC) No 1698/2005 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). At national level, German national sustainable and environmental indicators related to biodiversity are required in the frame of the national sustainable development strategy, the national biodiversity strategy, the agrobiodiversity strategy of the Ministry of Agriculture as well as for the monitoring of the national implementation of the above mentioned Council regulation on rural development (EAFRD).
The project "Streamlining European 2010 Biodiversity Indicators" (SEBI 2010) is an important co-ordination programme for the development of biodiversity indicators. This Pan European initiative was launched in 2004. Its aim is to develop a European set of biodiversity indicators for the assessment of and information about the progress towards the European 2010 targets of halting the loss of biodiversity by 2010. The project is a cooperation between EEA (the European Environment Agency), DG Environment of the European Commission, ECNC (the European Centre for Nature Conservation), UNEP/ PEBLDS Secretariat and UNEP-WCMC (the World Conservation Monitoring Centre).