This new report, entitled TEEB for Local and Regional Policy Makers, prepared by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, calls on local policy makers to understand the value of their natural capital and the services it provides and apply a focus on nature's benefits in local policy areas such as urban management, spatial planning and protected areas management.
The report aims to provide an inspiring starting point for thinking local policy in a new way. Highlighting practicality, the report calls for local authorities to take a stepwise approach to assessing options that factor nature's benefits into local policy action. This approach includes: assessing ecosystem services and expected changes in their availability and distribution; identifying which ecosystem services are most relevant to particular policy issues; assessing impacts of policy options on different groups in the community.
The report highlights cities dependence on nature and illustrates how ecosystem services can provide cost effective solutions to municipal services. It shows how, in rural development and natural resource management, ecosystems services with high market value are often promoted to the detriment of the regulating services that are equally important but less obvious. It investigates planning frameworks and environmental impact assessments that can proactively include a strong focus on ecosystem services and identify the economic potential of this shift in approach.