Course description


The international obligations for biodiversity conservation are not just linked to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), but also to the fact that management and protection of biological diversity is interlinked with the efforts to achieve several of the Millennium Development Goals. For these reasons, and the significant negative trends in global biodiversity resources as observed in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, biodiversity commands importance in impact assessment.

As biodiversity is more often perceived as a precondition for ecosystem services, rather than just a resource, part of the puzzle surrounding biodiversity loss lies in an incomplete understanding of how humans value the functions and services that flow from biodiversity conservation and how decline in benefits from these services is reflected in economic terms.

Valuing biodiversity using economic techniques and incorporating those values into the decision-making process can be a powerful way to demonstrate the importance of biodiversity protection to the broader public. By capturing both environmental and socio-economic factors, an integrated framework incorporating ecological and economic valuation outcomes can provide a way for decision-makers to identify the most promising development options and make informed decisions to balance the relative gains from different activities and investments, including those that are concerned with conservation as well as those that lead to ecosystem modification, degradation or conversion.

The desired changes in biodiversity conservation based on wider recognition of the ecosystem services concept require major adaptation of EIA frameworks for integrating economic evaluation approaches.

The course is aimed to provide a theoretical rationale for promoting ecosystem approach in assessing the impacts of development proposals on biodiversity and to stimulate the importance of integrating economic valuation principles in EA framework for mainstreaming biodiversity in impact assessment.

The contents of the course are aimed at:

  • ensuring the recognition of the importance of ecosystem approach in promoting biodiversity inclusive impact assessment;

  • enhancing the use of economic instruments for the valuation of ecosystem goods and services and

  • application of the learning from best practice models to promote sustainable development.