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Natural Capital in a Nordic context

Status and Challenges in the Decade of Biodiversity

image of Natural Capital in a Nordic context

The report reviews different international approaches for natural capital accounting. The five approaches reviewed are attempts to help create an improved evidence base on the links between biodiversity and ecosystems on the one hand and economic and human wellbeing on the other in view of better informing decision-making in a variety of contexts. The strengths and weaknesses of the approaches are evaluated in the light of the policy goals, institutions and conditions in the Nordic countries. The analysis has been carried out during the period September 2012 – January 2013 by Gaia Consulting Oy and the Institute of European Environmental Policy. The project was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers.

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Background

Like many other countries throughout the world, the Nordic countries have set themselves a range of targets in order to reduce or halt biodiversity loss. To address root causes of environmental problems, their drivers and pressures need to be identified and understood. In addition, as natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce, assessing the contribution of natural capital to the economy in a systematic and integrated way appears increasingly important. Both these agendas require a careful monitoring of the inter linkages between the economy and the environment. The World Bank, the UN Statistics Commission, the United Nationas Environment Programme (UNEP) and the OECD are only some of the many international organizations which have highlighted in recent years that more detailed accounts are needed to better manage our economies given that, at the macro-economic level, development can be seen as a process of building wealth and managing a portfolio of capital, including natural capital in its various forms.

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