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    Should the ecosystem services concept be used in European Commission impact assessment?2015

    BURKHARD B., DIEHL K., JACOB K.Journaux et Revues (scientifiques)

    biens et services écosystémiques, EIE / EIA, gouvernance, indicateurs

    Ecological Indicators
    Available online 8 August 2015

    Integrated impact assessment (IA) of policies in the European Commission takes place in an environment of competing problem frames, contested policy objectives and a multitude of interested actors. This paper sets out to discuss the potential value of integrating the ecosystem services (ESS) concept for improving the consideration of environmental benefits and values during framing and appraisal of new policies at European level. The discussion was based on a workshop conducted with experts encompassing their disciplinary fields to the science–policy interface. A review of recent literature and impact assessment reports from policy science and ecosystem services research allowed for a two-way contemplation. The potential integration of concepts was analysed for conceptual, technical, ethical and pragmatic aspects. It was found that indicator sets applied in the impact assessment reports follow a much less formalised structure than the reports or the procedure. An integration of the ecosystem services concept would enhance the requisite variety of indicators used, and thus contribute to the overall goal for sustainable development. Potentials for improving IA lie particularly in the up- and downscaling of benefits and values, policy relevant comparative studies and the prospective possibilities for innovation in indicator development. Based on this rationale of improving requisite variety for future decision making, the emphasis lies on a further development of the ESS concept along two pathways of operationalisation: the translation of the concept for a comprehensive approach at a higher level of abstraction (soft application), and the application of the concept for providing aggregated, quantitative and unit-based information at different steps of an IA (hard application).

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