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Assessing the role of economic instruments in policy mixes for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision (POLICYMIX)

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Improving conservation policy

An assessment of current European policies on conservation and biodiversity has increased understanding of how different instruments work together, resulting in major environmental benefits.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

The EU-funded POLICYMIX project investigated economic instruments for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem service provision based on policy assessment and the involvement of stakeholders. It reviewed the global use of key economic and command-and-control instruments for conservation, identifying societal impacts and policy effectiveness. Project partners also outlined the legal requirements and institutional factors regarding the implementation of dynamic economic instruments within the policy mix at different levels of government. These efforts enabled the most effective and cost-efficient combinations of policy instruments to be identified. Furthermore, researchers carried out a detailed review of protected areas and biodiversity conservation goals in forests, silviculture, and agroforestry. POLICYMIX studied payments for ecosystem services, ecological fiscal transfers, tax reliefs, forest certification. The project scrutinised these economic instruments’ interactions with other public policies such as landuse zoning regulations in policy mixes for biodiversity and ecosystem governance. The project developed draft guidelines, reports and technical briefs for assessing conservation impacts of these economic instruments, their ecosystem service costs and benefits, societal impacts and institutional fit. This work was developed in case studies, several scientific conferences and has been submitted to peer-reviewed scientific journals. Researchers also determined to what extent policy design can be transferred from Europe to Latin America, and what lessons can be drawn for Europe from experience on innovative instruments practised in Latin America. An online policy mix analysis toolbox and guidelines are available. The toolbox includes an agent-based computer model that enables users to experiment with different combinations of policy instruments public and private costs and benefits in a simulated forest landscape. POLICYMIX also contributed to the Quito dialogue on Scaling up Finance for Biodiversity under the auspices of the Convention on Biodiversity. This included evaluating financial mechanisms and assessing challenges to the convention's objectives of conservation, and the sustainable use and sharing of genetic resources. The project supports the EU's 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, which seeks to implement EU laws for protecting birds and habitats, in addition to maintaining and improving ecosystems. The project's outcomes will also encourage the forestry and farming sectors to increase biodiversity, thereby enhancing European commitment to preventing the loss of global biodiversity.


Conservation, biodiversity, economic instruments, policy mixes, ecosystem services

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