A National Ecosystems Services Strategy

The strategy aims to weave ecosystem services into our social, cultural and economic life by 2020. Rebuilding the nation’s environmental infrastructure is a task just as important to Australia’s future as national defence or climate change. Work has begun on many ecosystem services projects but the effort is fragmented. The benefits of national coordination through a world leading ecosystem services framework would be immense. It has the potential to provide for ecological sustainability, future direction to rural industries and communities and new options for indigenous Australia.

Developed jointly by Philippa Rowland, Peter Ampt, Jeremy Thompson, Geoff Gorrie, Dr Steve Cork and Em Prof Bob Douglas for Australia 21in 2008, the strategy remains relevant and current.

Core principles of the strategy

The underlying core principles of this national strategy are that:

  • Ecosystems provide the vital life support systems people need to survive and prosper. Programs and policies need to be strengthened to maintain these life supports in the face of global changes that include increasing population pressures, climate change, energy security and emerging market opportunities.
  • Ecosystem services should be a primary consideration of decision making at all levels of civil society, private enterprise and government.

Aims of the strategy

1. Develop and communicate key messages and frameworks for improving understanding of the importance of ecosystem services and of what we need to do to maintain and enhance the ecosystems that generate them. Key messages include:

  • Ecosystem services are essential to human well-being and recognition of this can generate greater connection to nature and sense of place;
  • Ecosystem services provide the bridge between economy and environment and can provide appropriate ethical rules for the economy for the generation of environmental wealth;
  • Understanding of ecosystem services can support decision-making, providing a strong, objective foundation at all levels.

2. Build links between the maintenance of ecosystems and commerce so that we can build the value of ecosystem services into the Australian economy to promote wise use of these precious limited resources. Key links include:

  • Support and extend Corporate Social Responsibility processes to include maintaining and enhancing provision of ecosystem services;
  • Support development of mechanisms (such as environmental management systems) that enable individuals and companies to be recognised for their role in maintaining and enhancing provision of ecosystem services beyond a duty of care;
  • Leverage the power of private sector investment for the long term future of Australians and Australian ecosystems.

3. Develop structures, mechanisms, institutions that are capable of generating and maintaining a coordinated and cohesive set of strategies for the preservation and enhancement of ecosystem services within the Australian economy, including:

  • building a new working partnership across government, research and private sectors;
  • galvanise ecosystem-level actions in the face of global changes;
  • provide a focal point for ecosystem level research and the creation of new institutions needed to meet the global challenge ahead.

4. Acknowledge International obligations and generate opportunities from addressing them, including:

  • Provide an overarching framework at the ecosystem level consistent with rapidly evolving international frameworks and the Convention on Biological Diversity;
  • Provide a framework for Australia’s international aid efforts aimed at improving ecosystem security for neighbours in return for global benefits.

To read more click on the link A National Ecosystems Services Strategy for Australia, 2008

 

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