People all over the world obtain numerous benefits from nature, such as fresh water, nutrition, or raw materials. Without these ecosystem services, social and economic development, and ultimately human progress and survival, would not be possible. Most individuals, households, businesses and industries depend on nature for their well-being and economic growth. If ecosystems are overused and destroyed, they often cease to provide these fundamental services. Consequently, there is the risk that development strategies fail and that governments and societies will not be able to bear the long-term economic and social costs and damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.
Until now, the true socio-economic and cultural values of “natural capital” have been frequently overlooked and poorly factored into decision making for development planning. Ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss often result. The damage to natural ecosystems reduces their ability to provide vital goods and services, undermining development and limiting social and economic opportunities. Making full use of ecosystems services and biodiversity values to address global challenges like climate change makes ecological and economic sense. It is therefore critical to ensure that ecosystem services are fully incorporated into development planning and measures throughout all sectors.
This guide on Integrating Ecosystem Services into Development Planning (IES) aims to practitioners in recognising the links between nature and development. It considers the environmental and economic trade-offs associated with development measures and helps to systematically incorporate ecosystem service-related opportunities and risks into strategy planning and development.This step-by-step approach aims to support GIZ programmes and partners to integrate ecosystem services into the design and review of development plans, sector-specific and spatial planning, environmental and climate assessments, and project development and proposal formulation.