Values and Governance
The integration of biodiversity, social ecological systems and resilience perspectives in development plans, budgets and sector policies is of utmost importance for achieving results for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. Policy coherence is likewise key.
Making the values and benefits of biodiversity and ecosystems visible and integrated in decision making can be done through a range of methods, including collaborative learning for demonstrating diverse values, monetary valuation, indicators or ecosystem accounting that visualizes the state and trends of ecosystems, ecological functions, and resource efficiency. Accounting is not necessarily about expressing ecological values in monetary terms so that they can be substituted for other types of capital – it can also be in the form of other national indicators. Ecosystem accounting is relatively new and aims to integrate biophysical information about ecosystems to track changes over time, and to link those changes to the socioeconomic activities of a country. Both methods and values are important to bring into the discussion otherwise we might miss what is important to measure. For some examples of assessments, indicators and metrics, see here.
Links to questions of growth and prosperity
This links to a range of questions and concerns regarding: growth and prosperity; remaining within the biophysical limits set by the planetary boundaries; and meeting people’s needs based on human rights, poverty alleviation and equity aspects.
Language and terminology are important issues to take into consideration – terms like ‘natural capital’ may appeal to some actors but might make others feel disconnected or alienated. This highlights the need for further development and dissemination of metrics, practical tools and methods for valuing (non-monetary and monetary) and measuring or accounting for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services with different cultural contexts in mind.
Design of appropriate, innovative or traditional, policy, legal and economic instruments for financing and governance
There is a need for realigning economic incentive frameworks, such as the design of fiscal systems to policy goals for biodiversity and ecosystem services. This has to be done out of understanding of equity, distributional aspects and diverse values to avoid unintended impacts. An example of this is the increasing focus on Biodiversity Financing Mechanisms (BFMs), formerly Innovative Financing Mechanisms (IFMs), that caused large conflicts at the CBD COP-10 meeting in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan. The failure to agree on IFMs motivated the multi-actor Dialogue Seminars in 2012, and 2014 in Quito, Ecuador, to resolve these issues, see the Quito dialogues. Areas of convergence identified and generated through the Quito dialogues process include the need for country-specific financing mechanisms and policies, safeguards and appropriate governance structures to avoid unintended outcomes. Fiscal reforms, particularly green tax reforms and removal of perverse subsidies, were considered promising, as were green markets.
Social-ecological system governance from the perspective of resilience and law
Matching law on different scales with socio-ecological contexts, and increased public participation, has been put forward as a means to foster multilevel and adaptive governance as well as socio-ecological resilience; law can frame how development can operate in synergy with the biosphere.
Making the link visible between market, trade and sustainable local social-ecological systems including governance options
Trade and the market are to a large extent decoupled from ecosystem stewardship. There is a need to develop governance options to close the feedback loop related to trade, market and local social-ecological systems. An example of this is that fisheries represent one of the last major wild extractive endeavours undertaken at a global scale. However, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN (FAO), three-quarters of the world’s fisheries are already fished maximally or over-exploited. This is largely thanks to irresistible global trade opportunities, market institutions that are decoupled from ecosystem dynamics and a growing population that is hungry for fish, both for food and for animal feed. Ecologically-relevant feedbacks are not only missing in the present market system, but are, in fact, blocked by current trade institutions.
SwedBio contributes to the development of appropriate biodiversity financing mechanisms, and their safeguards, through dialogues such as the Quito dialogues, valuation measures such as the dialogue seminar in Guatemala on assessment of collective action of indigenous peoples and local communities in biodiversity conservation and participation in global processes such as the High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 under CBD. SwedBio also contributes through support to partners working on legal preparedness in developing countries; and to development of metric for making the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services visible; and to sector integration and mainstreaming.