Resilience as base for nature policy

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) is legally responsible for periodic policy analyzes and evaluations, namely: the Nature Outlook, the Evaluation of the Nature Pact, and the Balance for the Living Environment.

Legal signaling, evaluation and exploration play a role in these legal products. To date, the methodology used has been strongly influenced by the legal framework as formulated in the Bird and Habitat Regulations, and mainly has an ecological basis for the policy goal: sustainable conservation and restoration of populations of endangered animal and plant species and ecosystems. However, a number of developments in society and the living environment mean that this policy goal must not only be assessed from an ecological perspective. It is therefore to be expected that the current system is not future-proof.

It is advisable to think in due time about an alternative to the current evaluation tools of nature policy strategies that take into account as far as possible the above developments and interrelationships. Possibly the widely supported concept of 'resilience' offers the tools to develop the tools for the analysis and evaluation of nature policy strategies. Resilience is a concept that was originally developed and widely used for socio-ecological systems. Nowadays, the concept is used for analysis and complex decision-making problems in a large number of areas. Given the complexity of questions and developments in nature policy, the central question of this project is therefore:

How could resilience-based instruments for the analysis and evaluation of nature policy strategies look like?

Important preconditions for the functionality of such instruments are that:

  • on the basis of this, integral assessments can be made,
  • it can be used for communication with users and stakeholders in order to strengthen support for decision - making, and
  • lessons can be drawn from the evaluation for future and parallel decision-making.