Spatial planning in Europe and Central Asia – Enhancing the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services

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Landscape and Urban Planning Journal - Vol. 196, 2020.  

Abstract: 

This research note explores opportunities for spatial planning to enhance the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem services (ES) in Europe and Central Asia. It refers to and is built on the regional assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It shows that a targeted and integrated approach to spatial planning can substantially enhance the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and ES. Spatial planning is a key instrument to explore spatial implications of combined policies on biodiversity and ES, and to design synergistic solution strategies. Together with other legal and regulatory instruments, spatial planning represents the backbone of policy mixes for biodiversity and ES delivery. Promising strategies for enhancing biodiversity and ES implementation in spatial planning include (i) mapping spatially explicit biodiversity and ES information in appropriate resolution, (ii) developing methods and tools for integrating this information in planning practice, and (iii) fostering delivery mechanisms.

Sea Basin(s): 
Year: 
January 2020
Application in MSP: 
Unknown effect
Sectors: 
Not sector specific
Type of Issue: 
Ecosystem-based approach
Environment aspects
Type of practice: 
Other
Stage of MSP cycle: 
Analyse spatial aspects
Cross-border / trans-national aspect: 
No
Coherence with other processes: 
Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Strategic Environmental Assessment

Questions this practice may help answer:

  • How can spatial planning enhance the consideration of biodiversity and ecosystem-services (ES)?

Implementation Context:

PlanSmart Research group - Germany.

Aspects / Objectives:

The aim of this contribution is to explore opportunities for spatial planning to enhance the consideration of biodiversity and ES in Europe and Central Asia.

Method:

Based on the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) regional assessment report, this contribution explores opportunities for spatial planning to enhance the consideration of biodiversity and ES in Europe and Central Asia with reference to four categories of policy instruments. This includes legal and regulatory instruments, economic and financial instruments, social and information-based instruments, as well as rights-based instruments and customary norms.

Main Outputs / Results:

Three insights and recommendations emerge that may also be applicable to regions beyond Europe and Central Asia. First, spatial planning may serve as a keystone instrument to explore the spatial implications of combined policies, for example regarding areas of conflicts between economic and policy sectors, and impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem-services (Geneletti, 2011, Helming et al., 2013, Rozas-Vásquez et al., 2018). By harnessing information from simulation models and scenario building, spatial planning can propose targeted strategies to avoid pervasive outcomes and to exploit synergies.

Second, spatial planning, together with other legal and regulatory instruments, represents the backbone of policy mixes required to ensure effective allocation of resources for safeguarding, restoring and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem-services. Spatial planning informed by biodiversity and ecosystem-services can facilitate public participation and stewardship and provide the basis for targeted investments into ecosystem-services, for instance by designating areas for results-oriented agri-environmental measures (Galler et al., 2015). Hence, spatial planning can also be understood as a policy mix in itself (Schröter-Schlaack & Blumentrath, 2011).

Third, promising strategies for enhancing the implementation of biodiversity and ecosystem-services in spatial planning with connections to rural, regional and sectorial funding strategies are threefold: (i) mapping spatially explicit information on biodiversity and ecosystem-services in appropriate resolution for decisions at respective scales, (ii) developing methods and tools for integrating information on biodiversity and ecosystem-services in planning practice, and (iii) fostering delivery mechanisms that consider planning proposals as part of systematic governance and policy mixes. Researchers recommend building alliances between planners, administrative, public, business and civil actors to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem-services in all relevant policy and decision processes towards more sustainable spatial development for people and nature.

Transferability:

This research note highlights how spatial planning can contribute to a better consideration of biodiversity issues and ecosystem services. The conclusions reached can further be applied to Maritime Spatial Planning.

Responsible Entity:

Ruhr University Bochum, Institute of Geography - Bochum, Germany.

Funding Source:

C.A. acknowledges funding from the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) for the PlanSmart research group (code: 01UU1601A).

Contact person:

Christian Albert

christian.albert@rub.de

Ruhr University Bochum, Institute of Geography, Universitätsstr. 150, 44805 Bochum, Germany

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