Opportunity Costs of EU Biodiversity Action
After having missed their target for halting biodiversity loss by 2010, EU policy makers must now rethink their policy actions for protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services as well as the financial resources involved in their implementation. The aim of the project is to produce an estimate of the total economic costs of EU biodiversity policy.
Due to the limited amount of available data on conservation costs, policy makers are currently confronted with difficulties in developing cost-effective policies for the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems. Given the increasing awareness of biodiversity loss in the EU and elsewhere as well as the increasing financial resources involved, a comprehensive assessment of the costs associated with biodiversity protection policies is needed. Furthermore, taking into account and compensating for the opportunity costs incurred by certain resources often avoids the careless use of these resources.
The objectives and subsequent tasks of the project are:
- To identify the types of costs associated with biodiversity policy in the EU: both direct and indirect as well as opportunity costs.
- To review the available literature to find any gaps in the cost analysis – such as the opportunity costs of conversion to other uses – and to assess the extent of these gaps.
- To produce an estimate of the total economic costs of biodiversity policy (including opportunity costs) in the EU.
- To provide information on how to systematically fill any such gap in the future and on the methodologies that can be used to comprehensively address all types of economic costs.
As the project leader, the Ecologic Institute concentrates mostly on the first two tasks, herewith paving the way for the third objective of the project. The final output of the project, which will include recommendations for a comprehensive approach to future cost calculations, will inform policy makers and, if necessary, can help adjust biodiversity policies and projects in order to increase the efficiency of financing for conservation activities.
This project is part of the Ecologic Institute`s contribution to the International Year of Biodiversity 2010.