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How do we express the value of our environment?

The European Commission has published the full final report of the VALSE project, which includes contributions from the entire VALSE team.

The project (VALuation for Sustainable Environments) was financed under the European Commission's Environment and Climate Research Progra...
The European Commission has published the full final report of the VALSE project, which includes contributions from the entire VALSE team.

The project (VALuation for Sustainable Environments) was financed under the European Commission's Environment and Climate Research Programme.

It began by seeking to understand how stakeholders express the "value" of their environments. The researchers therefore focused on studies of social processes for environmental valuation, and procedures and institutions for social valuations of natural resources in environmental conservation and sustainable policy.

The VALSE team designed and demonstrated valuation techniques as components of real problem-solving processes appropriate to specific situations. They divided the work into four main phases:

- The translation of general principles for effective environmental valuation procedures (previously established from earlier empirical and theoretical research and discussion) into a range of working hypotheses about key physical, institutional, and ethical factors in the social construction of environmental values;
- Detailed research-design and valuation processes appropriate for the specific features of four case studies - carried out in Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom;
- Wider methodological reflection, to formulate recommendations about valuation practices as components in environmental policy-design and public expenditure-evaluation programmes;
- Communication of project results to policy makers, researchers, and the interested public, via workshops, symposia and written documents.

The report, which documents the entire project, is divided into two parts: the first outlining the main methodological features of the work; and the second presenting four case studies and comparative remarks.

Source: European Commission, Joint Research Centre

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