Incorporating Ecosystem Services in International Policy

Researchers from PBL in the Netherlands and IISD in Canada have a released a new report Prospects for Mainstreaming Ecosystem Goods and Services in International Policies, which can be downloaded from the PBL website PDF 2.1 MB.  The report argues that the incorporation of ecosystem services (which they call ecosystem goods and services)  into international policy could reduce poverty.  Some of their findings:

Integrating Ecosystem Goods and Services (EGS) into various international policy domains conveys significant opportunities to contribute to reducing poverty while improving EGS delivery at the local level. Mainstreaming (integration) EGS can become an important element of natural resource and biodiversity policies.

Although most management decisions affecting ecosystem services are made at a local level, these local decisions are conditioned by national and international policies. International policy domains  – including development assistance, trade, climate, and the policies of international financial institutions – provide clear opportunities to mainstream EGS in ways that can support poverty
reduction.

Positive poverty reduction and EGS outcomes cannot be taken for granted; in many cases trade offs between decreasing poverty and EGS delivery will occur. A major challenge is to ensure that loss of EGS at least results in sustainable improvements in social or economic development of the poor.
Consistent policies across scales and policy domains based on analysis of the local situation are necessary to minimize these trade offs and prevent loose-loose situations.

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