31.03.2015

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Is it right to attach financial values to nature and to incorporate that valuation into the post-2015 agenda? Will such valuation help to protect species diversity and ecosystems? Or does it not rather harbour the risk that we cheerfully go on destroying nature since other aspects of the national accounts can be seen as compensation? Civil society is split on this issue. Our author points out why.

If we take the sustainability targets of the planned post-2015 agenda seriously and think of them as more than a series of isolated and unconnected objectives, the logical consequence is that we need to change our understanding of development accordingly: in place of the economy of overexploitation, which enthusiastically consumes natural resources – “natural capital” – as quickly as possible in the name of “economic growth”, we need to move towards a sustainable economy which conserves “natural capital” instead of consuming it. Governments are reluctant to take such decisions, except perhaps when they have no intention of following through on the consequences. Therefore it is to be welcomed in principle that the report of the Open Working Group on the post-2015 development agenda (point 15.9) reinforces the Aichi target of the Biodiversity Convention: by 2020, integrate ecosystems and biodiversity values into national and local planning, development processes and poverty reduction strategies, and accounts.

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