What Value on Nature? Countries Now Have 1st Guidelines

BERLIN — Countries have approved the first comprehensive guidelines for judging the value of nature following four years of intense debate, officials said Monday.

The report was endorsed by 139 countries that are members of the United Nations-backed Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, or IPBES.

Its authors hope the guide they’ve drawn up with the help of experts from a wide range of disciplines will make it easier for governments to consider more than just the economic benefits of a project when deciding whether and how to go ahead with it.

This includes figuring out how local communities will gain or lose from a project such as a hydroelectric dam — a situation that has regularly led to friction between businesses, citizens and authorities in the past.

Rather than prescribe a set way for governments to estimate these non-economic benefits, the report provides them with tools for working through the often complex assessment process, said its co-author Patricia Balvanera of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“We provide a roadmap to decision-makers for how to deal with this very complex situation they face every single day,” she said.

Fellow author Unai Pascual of the Basque Center for Climate Change in Bilbao, Spain, said the report’s approval represents a “milestone” for the way governments view nature, by challenging some of the underlying assumptions that have contributed to environmental destruction.

The report was drafted with the help of dozens of experts from both social and natural sciences in an attempt to bridge the often considerable differences between disciplines and find a common approach they could all support, he said.

“We don’t know what will come next,” said Pascual, but suggested the guidelines are likely to be reflected in the negotiations at December’s U.N. conference on biodiversity in Montreal.

Representatives of Indigenous groups welcomed the new guidelines and an IPBES report published last week which highlighted the need for sustainable use of nature.

“There is a growing body of evidence showing that when the rights of Indigenous peoples are guaranteed, we outperform all other forest managers in reducing deforestation and preventing wildfires,” said José Gregório Díaz MIrabal of COICA, a coordinating body for the indigenous organizations of the countries of the Amazon Basin.

“If the goal is to succeed in saving the Amazon, any plan must be carried out in collaboration with Indigenous peoples,” he said.


FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — South Florida researchers trying to prevent predatory fish from devouring laboratory-grown coral are grasping at biodegradable straws in an effort to restore what some call the rainforest of the sea.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Evzones March in the Rain to Greek Flag Raising at Bowling Green in NYC (VIDEO)

NEW YORK – The heavy rain did not deter the Hellenic Presidential Guard, the Evzones, and the participants in the march from St.

NEW YORK – According to the latest news, the health of 68-year-old Irene Tahliabouris, who is still hospitalized with severe head injuries after being attacked by 16-year-old Jevan Prince on April 7 at the Church of St.

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The unprecedented attack by Iran on Israel early Sunday ratcheted up regional tensions, confirming long-held fears about the Israel-Hamas war spiraling into a broader conflagration.

ATHENS - The advent of warm spring weather has tourists already pouring into Greece and bringing a warning for them to avoid seaside restaurants in popular areas - some gouging customers - and to eat away from those sites and go where locals go.

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Israel on Sunday hailed its successful air defenses in the face of an unprecedented attack by Iran, saying it and its allies thwarted 99% of the more than 300 drones and missiles launched toward its territory.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.