Ecosystem Approach Sourcebook - Case-Study Details

 
1. Project Details
Author or Responsible Organization English Nature
Project Title The Ecosystem Approach: coherent actions for marine and coastal environments
Date of Publication
Project Status Ongoing
Project Start Date
Project End Date
Countries United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Regions Western Europe and Others
Funding Source Other
 
2. Background to Project
Project Description This report is for decision-makers, scientific and policy advisors who have an interest in the future of our coasts and seas. It will also be of interest to non-governmental organisations and stakeholder groups. It originates from analyses of the current status of the application of the Ecosystem Approach to the coasts and seas around the UK and mainland Europe. It also draws from general progress made on developing the Ecosystem Approach within the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In our view, the level of analysis to which the Ecosystem Approach is currently being subjected at the concept level is distracting attention from developing practical actions. Current management actions around the world are not as successful as they need to be to stem losses of biodiversity and deterioration of ecosystems, and to support recovery and delivery of sustainable development. Global commitments have been made, but success will depend on new approaches to social, economic and environmental issues. Barriers to using the Ecosystem Approach for delivering genuine sustainable development must now be overcome if these commitments are to be met. A crucial element is translating the high-level principles (from the CBD) into practical actions at regional, country and local levels. Parties to the Convention have yet to make substantial progress on meeting this challenge. The focus should be on using the 'building blocks' of knowledge, experience and 'best practice' we already have to far better effect. The objective of this report is to identify a limited range of priorities for action and demonstrate how these could lead to significant improvements in the delivery of sustainable development in marine and coastal environments. Our priorities have been designed to take account of the areas where advisors and decision-makers may be least familiar with the issues. Priorities are not just about new areas of work; they often relate to areas where knowledge, experience and, sometimes, 'best practice' already exist. Often it will be the case of using these tools in a more coherent and effective way. Sometimes new work will also be required. This report is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to the Ecosystem Approach nor a detailed description of current development and guidance on implementation. It consolidates the relationship of the Ecosystem Approach with sustainable development, and therefore incorporates the important realms of social sciences and economic issues. Authorities and advisors need help to achieve this consolidation. This framework provides an important opportunity to bridge traditional barriers between social, environmental and economic aspects that often hamper effective working. The framework outlined can be applied at all spatial scales and throughout the global marine and coastal environment. It will enable a more consistent approach to be taken to identifying priorities to secure coherent and effective implementation. The direction provided in this report will help authorities deliver greater benefits, which have not been realised to date. These include: • healthy marine ecosystems and productive fisheries, providing sustained yields of natural renewable resources for human consumption. • greater co-ordination and effective linkage of management actions across the land-sea interface. • reduced conflict between sectors and greater understanding and clarity of the shared benefits across stakeholder groups. • more co-ordinated and effective use of institutional resources. • better value for money from marine and coastal research. • increased social inclusion with enhanced benefits for society. • integrated application of science and stakeholder knowledge to support policy and management decisions.
Highlighted Aspects of Ecosystem Approach This report is directed towards improving delivery of sustainable development in marine and coastal environments using the Ecosystem Approach. Attention needs to be directed towards: • enhancing the role of adaptive management processes involving all marine and coastal sectors as part of the overall strategy for implementing the Ecosystem Approach. This is an essential step in marine and coastal environments, where information may be scarce and understanding of ecosystem responses to management measures is limited. • implementing a common framework for applying the Ecosystem Approach at a more practical level. This report proposes a framework embracing 'seven areas of coherence' and suggests the key priorities for action within each area. This will enable countries to prioritise actions to enhance the levels of coherence necessary for delivering sustainable development. A focus on improving the coherence of our efforts The focus on 'coherence' in contrast to 'integration' is in recognition of the pressing need to bring efforts together in a more logical, consistent and orderly manner. Coherence reflects the need to go beyond simply integrating existing measures, to achieve more fundamental reorientations of perspectives, relationships and actions within and across sectors. There are real differences between integration and what can be achieved by better coherence. Integration alone can potentially incur the cost of being reductionist, or attempts to create new structures that may be politically impracticable. Coherence potentially delivers the benefit of the sum of the parts exceeding the whole. It enables the development of strong and focussed actions needed to deliver sustainable development. Without such a fundamental reassessment across sectors it is unlikely that the adoption of the Ecosystem Approach will be radical or effective enough to make real and lasting changes in the long-term decline in ecosystems, the biodiversity they contain, and the social and economic benefits that they can provide. The analysis and experience underlying this report suggests that a new framework comprising 'seven areas of coherence' provides a new, workable and valuable framework for the Ecosystem Approach, building on existing efforts to deliver sustainable development. The areas of coherence provide a useful means of conceptualising the broad scope of the Ecosystem Approach and as focus for prioritising the actions required for its delivery. The seven areas are: • Environmental coherence • Economic coherence • Social coherence • Spatial coherence • Temporal coherence • Scientific coherence • Institutional coherence To deliver sustainable development through the Ecosystem Approach the seven areas of coherence must be addressed. Environmental, economic and social coherence reflect the three pillars of sustainability. Spatial and temporal coherence reflect the fact that ecosystems operate at different scales and change over time; both from 'locked-in' climate change and also from the impact of future human activities. Scientific coherence recognises the need to provide best available information to be used for management purposes. Finally, institutional coherence reflects the need to work beyond the boundaries of how society traditionally organises itself. The seven areas are not mutually exclusive, but focussing in this way makes it easier to identify practical actions under the Ecosystem Approach and thereby to deliver sustainable development.
Conclusions To deliver sustainable development through the Ecosystem Approach the seven areas of coherence must be addressed. Environmental, economic and social coherence reflect the three pillars of sustainability. Spatial and temporal coherence reflect the fact that ecosystems operate at different scales and change over time; both from 'locked-in' climate change and also from the impact of future human activities. Scientific coherence recognises the need to provide best available information to be used for management purposes. Finally, institutional coherence reflects the need to work beyond the boundaries of how society traditionally organises itself. The seven areas are not mutually exclusive, but focussing in this way makes it easier to identify practical actions under the Ecosystem Approach and thereby to deliver sustainable development. In addition to this general perspective, there are specific ways in which this report may assist those with an interest in the coasts and seas to deliver sustainable development. At a global scale, it could provide a guide to support the plan of implementation from WSSD. The areas of coherence form a readily recognisable framework to bridge the gap between the Convention's broad concepts and principles, and the priorities to support practical application at regional sea or national levels. The coherence framework and priority actions support and complement the work currently being undertaken on the European Marine Strategy by the European Commission, Member States and others. Finally, the framework may have value at more local levels for the development of community initiatives and for individual organisations that have an involvement with relevant processes. It could help provide a structure around which to discuss the de-centralisation of government policy. It may also provide organisations charged with implementing sustainable development with the basis of an audit to improve their performance and relationships with key partners and stakeholders, whilst enhancing their own role in the process.
 
3. Sectors and Biomes
Sectors Aquaculture
Biomes Marine and Coastal Biodiversity
 
4. Tools and Approaches
Tools and Approaches   Relevance
Score
  Further
Information
Public Participation 3-High
Education and Awareness 3-High
Governance, Law and Policy 3-High
Management and Incentives 3-High
Data, Monitoring and Modelling 3-High
Protected Areas and Land Use Policy 3-High
- Protected/managed areas 3-High
Cross-sectoral Research and Working 3-High
Indicators 3-High
Other Tools and Resources Available to Assist with Application of the Ecosystem Approach 3-High This report proposes a framework embracing seven areas of coherence and suggests the key priorities for action within each area. The concept of coherence provides a framework to assist with the prioritorisation of actions to enable the delivery of sustainable development.
 
5. Issues
Issues   Relevance
Score
Climate Change and Biodiversity 3-High
Economics, Trade and Incentive Measures 3-High
Governance, Law and Policy 3-High
Institutional Arrangements 3-High
Pollution 3-High
Public Participation 3-High
Sustainable Use of Biodiversity 3-High
Tourism and Biodiversity 3-High
Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices - Article 8(j) 3-High
 
6. Ecosystem Approach
Principles and Operational Guidance   Relevance
Score
  Reason
(Only if NOT relevant)
Principle 1: The objectives of management of land, water and living resources are a matter of societal choices 3-High
Principle 2: Management should be decentralized to the lowest appropriate level 3-High
Principle 3: Ecosystem managers should consider the effects (actual or potential) of their activities on adjacent and other ecosystems 3-High
Principle 4: Recognizing potential gains from management, there is usually a need to understand and manage the ecosystem in an economic context 3-High
Principle 5: Conservation of ecosystem structure and functioning, in order to maintain ecosystem services, should be a priority target of the ecosystem approach 3-High
Principle 6: Ecosystem must be managed within the limits of their functioning 3-High
Principle 7: The ecosystem approach should be undertaken at the appropriate spatial and temporal scales 3-High
Principle 8: Recognizing the varying temporal scales and lag-effects that characterize ecosystem processes, objectives for ecosystem management should be set for the long term 3-High
Principle 9: Management must recognize the change is inevitable 3-High
Principle 10: The ecosystem approach should seek the appropriate balance between, and integration of, conservation and use of biological diversity 3-High
Principle 11: The ecosystem approach should consider all forms of relevant information, including scientific and indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices 3-High
Principle 12: The ecosystem approach should involve all relevant sectors of society and scientific disciplines 3-High
Operational Guidance A: Focus on the relationships and processes within ecosystem 3-High
Operational Guidance B: Enhance benefit-sharing 3-High
Operational Guidance C: Use adaptive management practices 3-High
Operational Guidance D: Carry out management actions at the scale appropriate for the issue being addressed, with decentralization to lowest level, as appropriate 3-High
Operational Guidance E: Ensure intersectoral cooperation 3-High
 
7. Lessons Learned and the Outcomes
Lessons Learned See conclusions
Outcomes
Other Information For the full report please see http://www.english-nature.org.uk/pubs/publication/PDF/EcosystemApproach.pdf
 
8. References
 
9. Contact Details
Contact Person Dr Diana Mortimer
Job Title Ecosystem Approach Officer
Organization Joint Nature Conservation Committee
Address Monkstone House, City Road,
Postal Code PE13 4LA
City Peterborough
ZIP/State/Province Cambs
Telephone +44 1733 866857
Fax +44 1733 555948
E-mail Address diana.mortimer@jncc.gov.uk
 
 

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  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme