Target 21. Data, information and knowledge for decision-making is available
Ensure that the best available data, information and knowledge are accessible to decision- makers, practitioners and the public to guide effective and equitable governance, integrated and participatory management of biodiversity, and to strengthen communication, awareness-raising, education, monitoring, research and knowledge management and, also in this context, traditional knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples and local communities should only be accessed with their free, prior and informed consent, in accordance with national legislation.
 Free, prior and informed consent refers to the tripartite terminology of “prior and informed consent” or “free, prior and informed consent” or “approval and involvement
Following are the guidance notes prepared by the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) for Target 21
All countries need data, information and knowledge to identify threats to biodiversity, and determine needs and priorities, plan and take evidence-based decisions and actions, set benchmarks and monitor and report on progress for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and the fair and equitable benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. Accessible biodiversity-related data, information and knowledge are critical for creating baselines, regularly assessing progress and taking necessary action. This issue is cross-cutting, with implications for all the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
The main objective of this target is to ensure that the best available biodiversity data, information and knowledge are readily available to decision-makers and other relevant actors to support informed biodiversity policy, planning and decision-making processes, as well as for monitoring, reviewing and reporting progress in implementation. The target contains several elements that provide further specificity on how this should be accomplished and to what ends:
- Improved accessibility to relevant biodiversity data, information and knowledge – Decision- makers, practitioners and the general public should be able to access relevant data, information and knowledge in an easy, efficient and timely manner and in appropriate formats. Improved accessibility can be achieved in in different ways, including through increasing the level of standardisation and interoperability among existing data, tools and platforms, digitization of existing information, and putting in place policies, such as for open-access and open data, to facilitate and support easier access.
- Communication, awareness-raising, education – Biodiversity data, information and knowledge are essential elements for effective communication, awareness and education measures. Understanding, awareness and appreciation of the diverse values of biodiversity underpin the willingness of individuals to make the necessary changes and actions and to enhance the “political will” of governments and other actors to take action.
- Knowledge management – Knowledge management refers to processes for creating, discovering, collecting, organising, curating, storing, sharing and using relevant knowledge, information and data. Efforts to increase capacities in this regard are needed. These could include efforts to improving institutional capacity, facilitating accessibility to and training in the use of relevant digital technologies, and institutionalisation of data, information and knowledge management.
- Monitoring – Effective monitoring, including the use of indicators, depends on the availability of good quality data, information and knowledge. There is a need to establish or strengthen existing national biodiversity information systems and biodiversity observatory centres and networks that could support both national and international biodiversity monitoring needs and commitments.
- Research – Greater support for research and innovation will be required to generate the data, information and knowledge necessary to achieve most targets. This includes research in effort to address biodiversity knowledge gaps and major imbalances in the geographic and taxonomic focus of biodiversity studies and monitoring. There is a need to undertake analysis of the information gaps and establish research projects and guidelines to generate missing information and to increase the amount and quality of biodiversity information available for biodiversity planning, decision-making, monitoring and reporting.
- Knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies of indigenous peoples and local communities – Many indigenous peoples and local communities are holders of unique traditional biodiversity knowledge. Similarly, many have developed innovations, practices and technologies relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This knowledge and these innovations, practices and technologies should only be accessed with the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities, in accordance with national legislation.
- Actions to reach Target 21 should take into account all of the considerations for implementation identified in section C of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- This target is relevant to the attainment of all goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
- Target 21 addresses issues previously addressed under Aichi Biodiversity Targets 18 and 19.
- Elements of Target 21 are also addressed in the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals, including Targets 14.a, 17.6, 17.7 and 17.18
- What biodiversity data, information and knowledge are available in your country? Who has the data, information and knowledge? What are the major gaps? What data, information and knowledge would be crucial to have?
- What programmes are in place to generate data, information and knowledge on biodiversity in the country? How effective have these been? How could their effectiveness be improved?
- What mechanisms are in place in the country to manage and share biodiversity data, information and knowledge? How do these mechanisms address traditional knowledge, innovations, practices and technologies? How effective have these been? How could information and data be shared more effectively? What have been the limitations in sharing information and data?
- How is biodiversity data, information and knowledge being used for communication, awareness-raising and education purposes? How effective has this been? How could effectiveness be improved?
- How effectively is biodiversity data, information and knowledge being used by decision makers, practitioners and the public to guide the governance and participatory management of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity conservation? How could effectiveness be improved?
- What are the main constraints to accessing available biodiversity data, information and knowledge? What actions could be taken to improve accessibility?
- What actions have been taken to access and use relevant technologies for knowledge generation, discovery, collection, organization, integration, visualisation, sharing and use? What further actions could be taken to strengthen national capacities in this regard?
- What additional resources (financial, human and technical) will be required to reach the national target? How can additional resources be raised? What are possible sources for these resources?
The monitoring framework for the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework identifies the following indicators for this target:
- 21.1 Indicator on biodiversity information for the monitoring the global biodiversity framework
- Species Status Index
- Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessments
- Growth in number of records and species in the Living Planet Index database
- Growth in species occurrence records accessible through the Global Biodiversity Information Facility
- Growth in marine species occurrence records accessible through OBIS
- Proportion of known species assessed through The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- Number of assessments on The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
- World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) bio-literacy survey (Biodiversity literacy in global zoo and aquarium visitors)
- Species Status Information Index
Note from the Secretariat: This guidance material provides an overview of the target by briefly introducing key terms, highlighting some of the implications for national target setting, and providing key points and guiding questions for consideration as part of national target-setting exercises. It also identifies the adopted indicators to monitor progress and resources that could assist with national target setting and implementation. This material should be considered a work in progress, and it will be periodically updated with inputs from Parties and partner organizations in the light of experiences with its use. This information is meant to serve as a resource that Parties and others may wish to consider as they implement the Global Biodiversity Framework. It does not replace or qualify decision 15/4 or 15/5.