6 Steps
Integrating ecosystem services into development planning

A stepwise approach helps practitioners, advisors and policy makers in recognizing and integrating ecosystem services into plans, programs and concrete development-related decisions. This approach is not a fixed recipe, but is intended to guide decision-makers in designing their own processes for appraising and considering nature's benefits in their choices.

Layer 1

The IES approach

This overview gives a first impression of the stepwise approach on how to recognize, demonstrate and capture the value of ecosystem services in order to integrate it into development planning. It is based on the findings of the TEEB studies and the TEEB approach, other studies and manuals (particularly WRI 2008 and WBSCD 2011) and the practical experience of GIZ projects and programmes.

Layer 1

Step by step

Defining the scope

The first step is all about establishing the objectives and process design.

  • What are the main development/management issues that need to be addressed, and to what ends?
  • Who are the relevant stakeholders, and how should they participate in the process?
  • What are the process milestones and expected outcomes?
  • What are the requirements for staff, funds and other inputs?
  • How are you going to communicate key messages to target groups?

Screening and prioritizing

The second step will help you prioritize the ecosystem services which are most relevant to the development plan and its key intended beneficiaries/target groups. Try to focus on 3-6 ecosys­tem services considered to be sources of risk or opportunity to your development plan in order to produce concrete results. This step will also help you identify users of the ecosystem services that may affect or be affected by the development plan.

  • How does the development plan impact and depend on eco­system services?
  • Which are the main stakeholder groups that are affected by ecosystem services?
  • How are the benefits and costs distributed between different groups?
  • Do potential areas of conflict, competition or synergy emerge?
  • Which are the priority ecosystem services for the development plan, and why?

Identifying conditions, trends and trade-offs

In this step, the current status and main trends in the supply and demand for the selected ecosystem services are analysed. A draft situation analysis will be conducted to assess the present state of the ecosystem services in question, and an analysis will be made of likely future changes in demand and supply. Subsequently, you will assess key drivers affecting the ecosystem services and possible future trends resulting from changes in the drivers. This step will illustrate the cause-and-effect relationships within your scope.

  • What kind of information and evidence related to the condi­tion and trends of ecosystem services exists and what are in­formation gaps?
  • What are the current conditions and likely future trends in the supply of and demand for the identified ecosystem services?
  • What and who are the main drivers of change?
  • What trade-offs might arise between development goals and ecosystem services, or between stakeholder groups?

Appraising the institutional and cultural framework

This step will give you an overview of the institutional and cul­tural framework. It will include analysis of the policies, regula­tions and informal rules that directly or indirectly affect your key ecosystem services, as well as the key institutions and traditional authorities that influence ecosystem management. This infor­mation will help you understand the underlying causes of the existing drivers affecting the ecosystem services. The results will be important for identifying and weighing possible measures in the next step.

  • Which institutions govern ecosystems and their services? Who participates in these, and in the decisions they make?
  • Which policies, regulations and other positive or negative incentives influence people’s use and management of ecosys­tems and their services? Who or what do they target, and how are they enforced?
  • Are there conflicts or inconsistencies between institutional, policy, legal and cultural frameworks, and the incentives they give rise to?
  • Which other kind of needs, interests and rights drive management choices regarding ecosystems?

Preparing better decision making

First summarize the main risks and opportunities for your devel­opment plan using the information gathered before. Based on the identified risks and opportunities you will evaluate different policy options and instruments that could maintain or increase the flow of the selected ecosystem services related to your de­velopment plan, and reduce or avoid any negative effects on ecosystem services and their users arising from the development plan. Build on the information generated during the previous steps to identify entry points to key decision-making processes. Determine if an economic valuation of your priority ecosystem services could be a useful tool for enhancing the incorporation of those values into the development plan.

  • What ecosystem service-related risks and opportunities to the development plan emerge as a result of the prior assessments?
  • Could economic valuation be useful and if so what should it cover?
  • Which are the most feasible policy options and entry points to use to capture ecosystem service opportunities, and reduce or avoid risks?
  • What kind of experiences (positive and negative) related to the implementation of particular instruments and mecha­nisms already exist in the region, and can be built on?

Implementing change

In this step you will define your implementation strategy and a concrete working plan including policies and instruments, stake­holder involvement, responsibilities and actions, as well as finan­cial resources.

  • Are the prioritised policy options realistic, feasible, acceptable and coherent with the development plan?
  • Are there the necessary financial, technical, human resource and institutional capacities to deliver on the selected policy options?
  • Who is going to be involved in implementing the policy measures, and in what role?
  • How will the impacts of the policy measures be monitored?
  • How will learning be generated, shared and communicated?

Layer 1

In principle, the IES approach can be applied at any scale − country-wide, sector specific, or village, company or business scale. Its results are, however, most practical and action-orientated at local and sub-national levels. This is because the assessment process requires specific data, which tends to be more generalised when it is aggregated at a larger scale. The approach is therefore most easily applied, and its results tend to be most robust, when it is used at smaller scales. It can also be applied to any sector. Projects and programmes that have obvious impacts or dependencies on the natural resource base or environment are particularly likely to benefit.