Valorization of Biodiversity
In progress from 01-03-2012 to 01-08-2013
Project manager: Christoph Kehl
Environment, Expert-based, Sustainability
Very often, biological diversity is considered to be the most important natural legally protected good, which – at the same time – is massively threatened by anthropogenic influences. Since the United Nations' Rio Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992, during which i.a. the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) was adopted, questions with regard to the protection of biological diversity were discussed intensively in a scientific, social and political context both on the European and national level.
Shortly before the follow-up conference "Rio+20", taking place in June 2012, the political efforts have been further intensified. With regard to nature conservation, particularly the German Federal Government and the European Union are focusing on an economic paradigm shift which they are also pushing at an international level. Last but not least against the background that the protection objectives of the Rio Conference have been missed to a large extent, economic concepts and instruments are expected to offer new impetus for the protection of biodiversity in two respects: On the one hand, the economic value of natural capital shall be made explicit. On the other hand, it shall be made possible by means of innovative financial instruments to internalize the external costs of the environmental degradation. Together with the European Commission, the German Federal Government was also the main initiator of the most visible study at the international level regarding the topic of an economic valorization of biological diversity entitled "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity".
Even though the abstract economic benefit of biological diversity is beyond all question, there is – however – a controversial discussion among experts regarding the question of to what extent it is reasonable to economize natural capital. An additional challenge are the complexity and global dimension of biological diversity. Against the background of this development, the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag (TAB) has been commissioned to carry out a study with regard to the topic of "valorization of biodiversity".
Objective and procedure
The study shall focus on the following tangible topics: first, an international comparative analysis of social and political discourses regarding the commodification of natural capital (in the context of "Rio+20"); secondly, an overview of the state of research regarding economic evaluation approaches of biological diversity as well as an investigation of research activities in Germany concerning this matter; thirdly, – in dealing with the experiences already made within the framework of comparable climate protection measures – an evaluation of financial instruments of nature conservation as well as of their potentials and problems / challenges. The objective of the project is to identify desiderata for the German research landscape as well as to elaborate approaches for further scientific and political discussions.
Read more on the project homepage