Internship at Rijkswaterstaat in the Netherlands.
March 2021 the United Nations Statistical Commission adopted the System of Environmental Economic Accounting - Ecosystem Accounting (SEEA EA), which constitutes an integrated and comprehensive statistical framework for organizing data about habitats and landscapes, measuring the ecosystem services, tracking changes in ecosystem assets, and linking this information to economic and other human activity.
In recent years, Rijkswaterstaat has worked together with Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the development of natural capital accounts for the Dutch part of the North Sea. In a first pilot study, the ecosystem extend account and the ecosystem condition account have been elaborated. Currently, these are being improved and expanded to get a full representation of the natural capital accounting framework for the Dutch part of the North Sea.
Also at the level of the North East Atlantic Ocean work is ongoing on natural capital accounting. Moreover, in October 2021, OSPAR, the organization that is responsible for the international coordination of environmental policy of the North East Atlantic, adopted the new North East Atlantic Environmental Strategy, which includes as one of its objectives ‘By 2025 OSPAR will start accounting for ecosystem services and natural capital by making maximum use of existing frameworks in order to recognize, assess and consistently account for human activities and their consequences in the implementation of ecosystem-based management’. As a first contribution to this objective, a first version of the natural capital accounts for the North East Atlantic was published in 2021, and further work is currently under way to extend the list of ecosystem services described in the first version of the natural capital accounts.
But if we have those natural capital accounts, how can they be used to support marine policies?
At the national level, we would like to be able to use the natural capital accounting framework to operationalise and analyse the 'sustainable use of the North Sea' and/to support decision making related to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the related programme of measures, the North Sea Programme, and the North Sea Treaty.
In addition, the before mentioned programme of measures already includes a short text on the analysis of ecosystem services. In 2023 an update of the Initial Assessment will be produced. The idea is to present ‘something’ on natural capital accounts in there as well. What should that ‘something’ be? Maybe natural capital accounts could be used to perform an analysis of cost of degradation?
And at the OSPAR level, OSPAR would like to know how natural capital accounts could be used to support the implementation of the various objectives in the North East Atlantic Environmental Strategy mentioned before, and how it can be linked to the various challenges mentioned in the draft results of the OSPAR Quality Status Report 2023.
Within this project, we would like to ask a student to produce an overview of how natural capital accounts are and can be used to support decision making based on a literature survey (in the first report for OSPAR there is already a nice overview that can be used as a starting point for this). This overview should provide inspiration for the next steps.
The main part of the work will be to prepare a number of case studies that illustrate how natural capital accounts could be used to support decision making related to the relevant policies at the national level and the North East Atlantic. This should be done for two situations: What can already be done now, based on the information that is and will become available from ongoing activities? And what type of analyses would be extremely relevant but cannot yet be performed because certain information is still lacking, and what should therefore be our research agenda for the years to come?
The output of this project is expected to exist of four products:
- A description of how natural capital accounts could be used at the national level. This information should be produced in a way that it can be used as input in the ongoing study by Statistics Netherlands.
- A short description of how natural capital accounts can be used to support the Dutch implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, as contribution to the update of the Initial Assessment in 2023.
- A report that can be used to have a discussion at OSPAR level on how natural capital accounts could be used to contribute to the North East Atlantic Environmental Strategy and potential future steps.
- An overarching report that includes all the various elements of this research.
The successful applicant should:
- pursue an MSc degree, preferably a combination of environmental economics and marine sciences;
- be familiar with ecosystem services/natural capital accounting;
- have good written and spoken expression skills in English (many consultations in English and the final report must be written in English);
- preferably also have good written and spoken expression skills in Dutch since part of Dutch policies is only available in Dutch and also the contribution to the update of the Initial Assessment has to be in Dutch;
- be able to work independently: The daily supervisor will not be available every day;
- be flexible and creative: Not all information will always be available at every desired level of detail, how do you arrive at a useful analysis?;
- be able to work together with colleagues from different backgrounds to arrive at an integrated solution together;
- preferably be available for a period of 6 months
Rijkswaterstaat is the executive branch of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. We manage and develop the national highways, waterways and water courses, and work towards a sustainable living environment. Together with others, we are working on a country that is protected against flooding, where there is sufficient green space and clean water, and where you can get from A to B smoothly and safely. Working together on a safe, sustainable and accessible Netherlands, that is Rijkswaterstaat. Our field of work is the public space. This presents us with dilemmas, because the interests of people, organisations and nature in that public space often differ. Together with citizens, companies, provinces and municipalities, we therefore work to find solutions that meet all these interests.
Next to providing you an opportunity to work at Rijkswaterstaat we offer you a gross internship remuneration of €635,- per month (based on 40 hours/week). More information on internships at Rijkswaterstaat can be found here.
Application and further information
If you are interested, you are welcome to send a motivation and cv to email@example.com.