Valuing Nature Programme Coordination Team

Lead Research Organisation: UK Ctr for Ecology & Hydrology fr 011219
Department Name: Directors and Science Coordinators


The concepts behind Valuing Nature are coming of age, emerging from the Millennium Assessment, and in the UK the subsequent UK National Ecosystem Assessment and the Natural Environment & Water White Papers published in 2011. Valuing Nature necessitates the bringing together of a wide range of disciplines: including the natural and social sciences, economics and the humanities. It also requires engagement from a broad range of business and policy interests. This presents significant challenges in cross disciplinary working. Building on lessons learnt in the first phase of the Valuing Nature Network (and through our Programme Advisory Goard, the RELU and BESS programmes and the HOPE initiative), this proposal aims to provide an innovative set of activities that will extend beyond the more traditional conference formats to include a) interactive sessions that build a shared understanding of concepts and vocabularies; and b) themed activities in partnership with other major consortia and initiatives in this field (e.g. NW+) (WP 1). We will also engage with key business and policy stakeholders designing events using interactive formats such as a) surgery sessions; b) dialogue sessions and c) 'unconference' events. The emphasis here is on mutual information exchange and learning, and will again be delivered in partnership with such organisations as NCI, Eftec and the KTN (WP2). Finally, our last work package (WP3) provides the behind the scenes building blocks to deliver such an interdisciplinary programme, including programme management, communications, data management, web site, monitoring and evaluating programme activies, and establishing a longer term legacy for Valuing Nature.
The overarching aim of this programme is to provide the interdisciplinary science needed to put the value of nature at the core of the economy. This requires a truly integrated response to the research challenges posed involving the full range of constituents outlined in our proposal. If this is successfully implemented, then the impact of this research programme will be very significant in terms of the societal benefits it will bring.

Planned Impact

The concept of Natural Capital was given prominence in the Government's 2011 Natural Environment White Paper The Natural Choice. It was recognised that we need to better account for natural capital in the development of our economy and promote the sustainable use of the scarce resources on which we depend. Using physical and social sciences to understand and demonstrate the value of nature to human wellbeing is a key approach in this regard. Evidence is needed to reduce the fundamental conflict between the drive for economic growth and the health of the natural environment, and in addition to collating existing and creating new evidence, we also need to make that evidence more accessible to different users and stakeholder groups. This is the focus of the Valuing Nature Programme (VNP).
The Valuing Nature Network (VNN) laid the foundations for an interdisciplinary research community, with more than 1,200 members joining the network in its first two years from across a wide range of sectors. The VNP will build on these achievements through engagement, dialogue and communication with stakeholders and beneficiaries including, but not limited to:
1. Biodiversity: Ecosystems Knowledge Network (EKN), BESS research programme, Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), NGO Biodiversity sector.
2. Economics: UK Network for Environmental Economists, Government Economic Service, Natural Capital Committee, The Prince's Accounting for Sustainability Project, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), GLOBE International.
3. Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities: Nexus Network Plus, Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities.
4. Business: NC coalition (was TEEB4Business), EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform, Aldersgate Group, Ecosystem Markets Task Force (EMTF), Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL).
5. Policy & Government: Smith School, Natural Capital Initiative, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and its agencies, Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department of Health (DH), Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Technology Strategy Board, devolved governments and their agencies, European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EEAC).
6. Health: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare, European Centre for Environment and Human Health (ECEHH), public health agencies in England and the devolved governments.
These groups represent stakeholders and users in the academic, business, government, and NGO sectors. They will benefit from the VNP through the development of a common language and goals for work involving natural capital, and through advances in methodologies and knowledge shared among different audiences. The VNP will foster interdisciplinary working resulting in successful research outcomes and the sharing of good practice in this area. It will lead to the strengthening of existing partnerships and the fostering of new ones. The programme will help to advance valuation analyses to allow the capture of the physical and social values associated with nature for both business and government. The VNP will inform policy development and decision-making, and illustrate how the ecosystem approach can be put into practice. These outcomes will allow the programme to contribute to changing the way we value nature in the UK, and enable us the share experience and innovation in this area across Europe and internationally. Ultimately the programme aims to benefit the general public through increases in the effectiveness of public services and policy, reduced environmental impact by more efficient use of nature by business and resulting increases in health and well-being.


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