Our work supports the EU's objective of halting the loss of biodiversity and the degradation of ecosystem services by 2020. This includes assessing the costs and socio-economic benefits of conserving biodiversity and associated ecosystem services, and developing evidence-based polices that help implement and finance EU biodiversity conservation measures.
IEEP has extensive experience of biodiversity-related policy analysis in agricultural, freshwater and marine ecosystems and has pioneered measures to tackle invasive alien species and the impacts of climate change on biodiversity.
We primarily work on policy analysis and development projects for the European Commission, but also contribute to the biodiversity conservation work of national governments, NGOs and other international governmental organisations.
The EU has a relatively well-established biodiversity conservation policy framework, now formalised in the 2010 EU Biodiversity Strategy, at the heart of which are the Habitats Directive and Birds Directive, which have created the Natura 2000 network – the largest network of protected areas in the world. These Directives include legislative measures that require Member States to conserve and restore EU threatened habitats and species, both within Natura 2000 sites but also where necessary in the wider environment. The Biodiversity Strategy also includes targets that aim to restore ecosystems and their services, support the biodiversity conservation measures in agricultural, forest and marine ecosystems, address alien invasive species and reduce the EU’s external impacts on global biodiversity.
Despite this impressive framework ecosystems continue to be degraded and biodiversity is still being lost. This is due to slow, incomplete or inappropriate implementation, including weak enforcement, a lack of funding, and some important policy gaps.
A fundamental problem continues to be the undervaluation of biodiversity and its limited capture in economic systems. Therefore a key area of our work is demonstrating the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to clearly show that biodiversity is worthy of protection, for its own sake and for its contribution to human well-being. This understanding is the basis for the development of policies that aim to support the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, for example through better regulations, cost-effective public funding (such as agri-environment schemes and other EU funds) and innovative market-based instruments (such as payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets).
Cohesion Policy is currently missing important opportunities to promote environmentally sustainable economic development in European regions. The study identifies ways of improving investment patterns and governance mechanisms to foster environmental and economic wins.
“Urgent action is needed now to avoid significant costs of inaction, both in economic and human terms”. The OECD provides a clear message in its recent Environment Outlook to 2050: Act now – or face major and potentially disastrous consequences.
This IEEP-led study for the European Commission (DG ENV) improves the knowledge base on green infrastructure policy initiatives in Europe and assesses their implementation and efficiency. It also formulates policy recommendations for integrating green infrastructure into the EU policy framework.
Helsinki, 12-14 October. European and North-American scientific and technological community agree on their message for Rio+20, emphasising role of natural capital in underpinning Green Economy and echoing key messages from TEEB.
A report on the benefits provided to society by Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in England and Wales was just published. The study, led by GHK with support from others including IEEP, examines the range of ecosystem services provided by the network of SSSIs and estimates the monetary value of protecting them.
Improved resource efficiency is considered the core environmental challenge alongside climate change. A new IEEP paper reviews the mixed results of previous EU Natural Resources policy and suggests a number of ways forward.
The EU is committed to building improved resource efficiency into its economic strategy, starting with a “roadmap” this year. A new paper from the Institute sets out the challenges, reviews the mixed results of previous EU policy in this area and suggests a number of ways forward. Both a broad vision and an array of practical policy initiatives are required.
After two years of work by over a hundred experts the Finnish Strategy on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) has been published. IEEP’s Marianne Kettunen played a central role in supporting the development of the Strategy.
The study demonstrates the value of ecosystems and biodiversity to the economy, society and individuals. It underlines the urgent need to transform our approach to natural capital, and demonstrates how we can practically take into account the value of ecosystems and biodiversity in policy decisions to promote the protection of our environment and contribute to a sustainable economy and to the wellbeing of societies.
This series of reports reviewed evidence of climate change impacts on biodiversity in Europe, including vulnerable species across the Natura 2000 network, and identified policy measures that may facilitate biodiversity adaptation in the EU. The project also assessed the potential impacts of renewable energy technologies on Natura sites and their species.
This report sets out a suggested outline for key components of the future EU Strategy on Invasive Alien Species. It also provides an initial assessment of the possible scale of costs and benefits associated with EU policy action on IAS.