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Weaknesses in the authorities’ efforts to survey and monitor biological diversity and in their management of protected areas - Document no. 3:12 (2005-2006)

An inadequate ability to convert high environmental ambitions into specific action has so far characterised both the authorities’ efforts to survey and monitor biological diversity and their management of protected areas. Up to 30 per cent of protected areas are currently threatened, and the management of these areas shows deficiencies.
Published 9/7/2006 1:49 PM
The investigation of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) The authorities’ efforts to survey and monitor biological diversity and to manage protected areas, Document no. 3:12 (2005–2006), was submitted to the Storting on 7 September.

The investigation has revealed weaknesses in the planning basis for the work of surveying and monitoring biological diversity and of managing protected areas. In a nationwide municipal mapping programme, critical factors such as mapping methodology, databases and cost estimates have not been sufficiently elucidated prior to starting the surveying.

In the investigation, the protected areas have been restricted to national parks, landscape conservation areas and nature reserves. The investigation shows that up to 30 per cent of the protected areas are currently threatened and that the management of these areas contains deficiencies. For instance, priority has been assigned to protecting certain areas without updated cost estimates for the management of these areas.

The investigation of the OAG also shows that in the new knowledge-based management system for biological diversity that constituted the main priority of Report no. 42 to the Storting (2000-2001), the goals for such efforts are somewhat unspecific. This makes it difficult to assess goal achievement for the management system and the national programme which, according to the Ministry of the Environment, should represent the cornerstone of this system. Weaknesses have also been revealed in the decision-making basis of the national surveying and monitoring programme. The OAG therefore emphasises the need for a good planning foundation in the subsequent work.

In the light of the facts that have been revealed, the OAG concludes that so far the authorities’ efforts have been characterised by an inadequate ability to convert high environmental ambitions into specific action.

The Ministry of the Environment states that the government will continue and improve their efforts in the audited areas, even though the Ministry does not completely share the premises and conclusions the OAG presents in the report. The Ministry also claims that efforts must be strengthened to enable the goal of halting the loss of biological diversity by 2010 to be attained. Moreover the Ministry points out that the national surveying and monitoring programme, the municipal mapping programme, and the management of protected areas are together of considerable significance in this context.

The document (in Norwegian) can be downloaded from this website or ordered from Akademika booksellers, tel. +47 22 18 81 23.

The provision concerning delayed public access to documents that are compiled by or sent to the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document no. 3:12 has been repealed, cf. Section 18, paragraph 2 of the Auditor General Act.

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