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Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic Countries

Synthesis in the context of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

image of Socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic Countries

Nature provides a range of benefits (ecosystem services) that underpin human and socio-economic well-being. Many of these benefits – and the associated economic values – are not acknowledged in decision-making. As a result, nature remains almost invisible in the political and individual choices made. This report presents a synthesis of the socio-economic importance of ecosystem services in the Nordic countries. The study was initiated by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NCM) and the NCM Finnish Presidency in 2011, following in the footsteps of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative. The study reveals that Nordic ecosystems play an integral role in supporting socio-economic wellbeing. However, a number of gaps in the existing information base still need to be addressed to ensure that these benefits are fully integrated into the Nordic decision-making processes.

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Existing Nordic policy frameworks and tools for ecosystem services

Integrating the value of ecosystem services into policy and decisionmaking processes has started in in several Nordic countries. However, the concept of ecosystem services is still new to several sectors and, consequently, it still remains to be integrated into national policies and strategies. Integration of the international goals on the value of ecosystem services into National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs), agreed at the 10th meeting of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Aichi-Nagoya in 2010, is likely to be one of the key policy tools for accelerating this process. The focus on biodiversity and ecosystem services has also increased in the context of EU policies (e.g. agriculture and conservation of inland water and marine areas). Consequently, it is also foreseen that the EU policy framework – common to Finland, Sweden and Denmark – will also help to enhance the practical implementation of the concept in the future.

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