Increasing regional prosperity by investing in nature: Guidance to mainstream biodiversity

The conservation of natural capital - biodiversity, ecosystem and related ecosystem services - has a lot to offer for regional development. Investing in the natural environment can bring significant welfare benefits, provide good return on investment and enhance socio-economic cohesion, thus contributing to major objectives of the EU Cohesion Policy. Unfortunately, the opportunities related to preserving nature’s assets to support regional prosperity are often overlooked.

A new publication authored by IEEP in the context of SURF-nature project provides guidance on integrating biodiversity into EU Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The guidance summarises and showcases broader socio-economic benefits associated with financing biodiversity and ecosystem services, offering information on how these benefits can – and indeed should - be linked with implementing the EU-wide priorities for regional development in the future. The purpose of this practical guidance is to help national and regional managing authorities to understand how they can make better use of ERDF to promote financing of biodiversity.

Sufficient funding is a key prerequisite for achieving the EU’s biodiversity objectives for 2020. The Union’s approach for financing biodiversity requires that, in addition to ERDF, support to nature conservation should be integrated into all existing EU funds. With the EU 2014-2020 Multiannual Financial Framework just around the corner, different stakeholders are taking action to ensure that biodiversity will not be sidelined in the negotiations on funding priorities. IEEP, together with WWF and other partners, continues to support this quest through a new European Commission project (2012-2014) that aims to provide information and advice on the opportunities available for funding biodiversity in the context of the 2014-2020 EU budget.

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