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Investigating the use of environmental benefits in the policy decision process: a qualitative study focusing on the EU water policy

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This paper presents the use of environmental benefits in the policy-making process in nine European countries. Growing competition for financial resources suggests that a precise understanding of the benefits provided by policies is needed. In particular, the environmental co-benefits that environmental policies offer must be more thoroughly investigated. Yet because there is often a focus on systems rather than individual species or specific environmental factors it becomes more difficult to characterise benefits. This paper shows that the role of environmental benefits to advise policy action differs across selected European countries. Environmental benefits are used at different stages of the policy cycle and for different purposes. In many cases they are not used to inform high level decision making but to stimulate public debate or to develop more targeted legislative proposals.
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Keywords: economic assessment; ecosystem services; environmental benefits; water policy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University, Trent Park Campus, Bramley Road, London, N14 4YZ, UK 2: Ecologic Institute, Pfalzburgerstr. 43–44 10717 Berlin, Germany 3: Fresh-Thoughts Consulting, Auhofstr. 4/7, 1130 Vienna, Austria 4: NIVA – Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Gaustadall√©en 21, 0349 Oslo, Norway

Publication date: October 3, 2014

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