Ecosystem Services in Policy Impact Assessment

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Helming, Katharina/Diehl, Katharina/Wiggering, Hubert (2012), Ecosystem Services in Policy Impact Assessment. LIAISE Innovation Report No. 4.



This innovation report contains an article on "Ecosystem Services in Policy Assessment" by Katharina Helming, Katharina Diehl and Hubert Wiggering (Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research, ZALF). Starting from the concept of ecosystem services and its link with human well-being, as developed in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the authors analyse where exactly in the policy process ecosystem services can be taken into account. The focus lies on the procedures of policy impact assessment, in particular on the EU integrated assessment system.

The authors argue that the application of the ecosystem services concept to the process of policy impact assessment could be seen as a step forward in the effort to account for ecosystem based goods and services. The concept of ecosystem services is generally understood to refer to the environmental pillar of sustainable development. At the same time, through the relation to human wellbeing, the concept allows for a conceptual linkage to the other two pillars and, hence, allows for the mainstreaming of the ecosystem services concept in the process of policy development.

In addition to the research article on ecosystem services in policy assessment, a number of recent publications on impact assessment are briefly reviewed, dealing with issues such as principles and methodologies of sustainability assessment, topics of data access and uncertainty in policy making, and the nexus of transparency and perceived legitimacy of political decisions.


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