Field: Dissemination of information
Global Technical function: Managing
Technical Function Unit: Disseminating, Identifying, Networking, Strategic planning
Geographic Area: Norway

POLICYMIX

A study was initiated in 2007, following a meeting of the environment ministries of the G8 countries. This study has intended to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services and to facilitate the development of cost-effective policy responses and better informed decisions: 'The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity’ (TEEB) is globally evaluating the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services, and comparing them with the costs of effective conservation and sustainable use. 

The project POLICYMIX is investigating how economic valuation of ecosystems and economic incentives can be integrated effectively in biodiversity conservation policies. Amongst POLICYMIX aims is to contribute case studies of the use of economics instruments for conservation purposes to the knowledge base of TEEB case studies.

An analysis of existing economic tools related to biodiversity and forests is conducted in the project, including an evaluation of the cost-effectiveness and the benefits of economic versus regulatory instruments. Examples of economic instruments to be evaluated are
Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), Ecological Fiscal Transfers (EFT), Biodiversity offsets and Habitat Banking (HB).

Until now, assessments of economic measures are often carried out individually, without considering the combined effect of different tools. Through identifying success factors of existing instruments, the project team hopes to pinpoint the elements that make it more likely for economic instruments to play a vital role in the national policy mix for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision, with   the long run aim of contributing to sustainable living.

The project focuses on economic instruments for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provided by forest ecosystems and a three-step approach has been taken to achieve the project goals:

  • During the initial period of the project, a review of existing policies has been conducted. 
  • Case studies in forest ecosystems in different parts of the world: Norway, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Brazil and Costa Rica provide the empirical basis for the research. These case studies will be contributing to the TEEB study and the work of the European Environment Agency.
  • Finally, in the third step the findings will be evaluated in order to develop and test policy assessment guidelines in collaboration with local managers and national policy makers.

Another aim of POLICYMIX is to produce a set of examples and supporting guidelines for policy evaluation and design that combines the local level and the national level, with regard to social and ecological situations as well as institutional and policy conditions. The guidelines could be used by national authorities when considering case studies related to countries and by the European institutions for policy analysis. Thus, the project can offer a methodological framework to support the strategic planning process of policy makers in regard to conservation issues. Part of the task will be to investigate which stakeholders that gain from certain policies and which are negatively affected by them. Managing this economic imbalance among stakeholders will also be addressed in terms of alternative approaches for compensation the affected parties.

The project is funded under the EU seventh framework programme (FP7), a grant funding programme, and will end in 2014. The projects’ key method for dissemination of information is based on networking activities such as conferences and workshops, thereby including various stakeholders in the project. Some disseminating activities have already been held, including special sessions at bi-annual conferences of the International and European Societies for Ecological Economics , presentations of the project at Rio+20 and several workshops. Given that only the first step of the project plan has been achieved so far, the technology readiness level is estimated to reach 3 on the TRL scale, according to the scope of the seventh framework programme, which provides public grant partial funding for R&D.