OECD-Researach Project "People and Biodiversity Policies"
People and biodiversity policies: Impacts, issues, and strategies for policy action
The policy challenge
Successful biodiversity policies contribute to social wellbeing by correcting some fundamental externalities present in the management of biologically diverse habitats and ecosystems.
In doing so, however, biodiversity policies impact on the welfare of all those individuals that are in some way connected to the habitats or ecosystems at the center of these policies. For some individuals, these impacts will be positive, thus enhancing their welfare position; for others they will be negative.
In short, therefore, biodiversity policies create gainers and losers, giving rise to distributive effects.
The policy framework
OECD policy guidelines call explicitly for a consideration of the effects of policies on the absolute and relative well-being of different groups of people. These guidelines originate from the OECD report on Evaluating Economic Instruments for Environmental Policy (OECD 1997). There, equity stands as a policy dimension alongside other important ones such as environmental effectiveness, administration and compliance costs (OECD 1997).
As a result, there is a need for understanding the nature of the distributive effects of environmental policies, developing assessment criteria of distributive effects regarding environmental policies, and providing strategies for policy action.
The project analyzes the distributive impacts of biodiversity policies. It does so across different groups, across different geographical scales and across time. It describes methods of the measurement of distributive effects and explains the relationship between policy objectives, instrument choice, and distributive outcomes. It provides arguments for considering distributive issues within biodiversity policy choices that arise out of the modern economic literature.
As a support for policy action, the project also makes available different methods of integrating distributional concerns into policy-making and of managing conflicts induced by biodiversity policies. The project also collects a wealth of case studies to document both the complex chains leading to distributive outcomes and best practice in merging efficiency and equity considerations in policy design, implementation and ongoing management.
Publication The report, jointly authored with Philip Bagnoli (OECD) and Eszter Kovacz (Hungarian Ministry of the Environment) will be published in late 2007 by OECD Press.