The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. The European Commission is currently discussing a new target to halt the loss of biodiversity in Europe and the rest of the world. The Ecologic Institute is well positioned to contribute with a wide range of projects to developing meaningful steps towards a more effective policy for conserving biodiversity and ecosystems.
The International Year of Biodiversity will throw light on a wide range of scientific and political questions by staging a series of important international events such as the Green Week in Brussels and the COP10 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nagoya, Japan.
Many of these questions are addressed in Ecologic’s ongoing projects.
Recent initiatives, such as the Review on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the linked project "Cost of Policy Inaction (COPI) on Biodiversity" illustrate that the European Commission is currently extending its efforts to obtain more information on the benefits associated with nature’s goods and services as well as on the costs of policies designed to effectively preserve them.
In the past, soil ecosystems have been largely neglected in economic assessments. Ecologic’s current project “Economic valuation of soil ecosystem functions” explicitly tackles this issue by reviewing the available literature on that subject and developing a methodology for a large-scale economic assessment of soil ecosystem services.
While TEEB and COPI mainly focused on the benefits associated with ecosystems and biodiversity, Ecologic is involved in the project “The Economic and Social Benefits associated with the Natura 2000 Network” that assesses both the benefits and the costs associated with the implementation of the Natura 2000 network in the EU. Led by Ecologic, the project “Opportunity costs of EU biodiversity action” explicitly analyses the role of opportunity costs in overall cost estimates of EU biodiversity actions.
Besides the economic dimension of biodiversity, the assessment of social aspects has also an important role to play for further policy making. The objective of the project “The Social Dimension of Biodiversity Policy” is to characterize the impact of biodiversity loss or enhancement on jobs and social inclusion both at the European scale and worldwide.
Another project entitled “Market-Based Instruments for Ecosystem Services” specifically examines the role of market-based instruments for ecosystem services in nature conservation policies.
In order for informed decisions on future biodiversity policies to be made, a better understanding of processes, dynamics and threats of ecosystems is urgently needed. The BioFresh FP7 project will build a public information platform to bring together the vast amount of information on freshwater biodiversity.
If you have any questions on Ecologic`s activities in the International Year of Biodiveristy 2010, please contact Timo Kaphengst, Coordinator for Biodiversty and Forest at Ecologic.
- European Commission: Options for an EU vision and target for biodiversity beyond 2010
- German Federal Ministry for the Environment: International Year of Biodiversity
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (02.02.2010): Was kostet die Welt? [German]