Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

352 I Global biosphere policy

The question what institutional form the outcome

of the IFF deliberations will take, that is expected to

be forthcoming in 2000, remains unanswered.A binding

forest conservation agreement under international

law could assume the form of an independent

FAO convention or become effective as a protocol in

the context of the CBD. Clarification of the institutional

questions had up to that point proved to be

extremely problematic and so for that reason was

postponed until after the substantive discussions, in

order not to hold up the negotiations.

The Council has spoken out in favour of a Forest

Protocol under the auspices of the CBD in the past

(WBGU, 1995b) and still considers this solution to be

the most promising with regard to the goal of a global

policy of sustainability. In a forest convention that is

to be renegotiated and anchored to the FAO, the

main emphasis would likely be on use. Equal rights

for conservation and sustainable use of biological

diversity as already enshrined in the CBD would

have to be renegotiated and established. However,

given the lack of international consensus on a CBD

protocol a separate forest convention would be

preferable to a merely non-binding continuation of

the discussion in an intergovernmental body.

I 3.5

Incentive instruments, funds and international


I 3.5.1

Incentive instruments

In Art. 11 of the CBD a call is issued to all parties to

recognize the importance of incentive instruments

and increasingly to deploy social and economic

incentive measures for the conservation and sustainable

use of the individual elements of the biosphere.

Drawing on that call, the OECD deployed a working

group that focused on the economic aspects of biodiversity

(Working Group on Economic Aspects of

Biodiversity). In December 1998 the draft of a manual

was published that discusses the options relating

to incentive instruments in biodiversity policy; it is

based on 22 case studies. The aim of the handbook is

to provide policy with guidelines – coordinated with

the ecological, social and economic framework conditions

– to be able to make increasing use of incentive

instruments for the sustainable use of biological

diversity (OECD, 1998).

In contrast to command-and-control regulations,

economic incentive instruments do not prescribe certain

actions, as do for example the statutory provisions

on the installation of certain filter equipment

under the German Emissions and Ambient Pollution

Control Act (Bundesimmissionsschutzgesetz).

Rather the cost-benefit ratios associated with certain

alternative actions are changed. Emissions certificates,

such as used successfully in the United States in

the context of clean air policy, mean that emissions

reductions pay off financially since certificates

acquired at an earlier date can be sold. Emissions

taxes increase the cost of emissions. The decision of

whether to continue with emissions or to buy filters

to reduce tax payments ultimately remains the decision

of the individual decision-maker. By means of

that type of economic approach the information

advantage that exists at the decentralized level is

exploited, particularly to assess alternative actions.

Instead of prescribing uniform action by law, with the

economic approach it is up to the economic players

themselves to decide in accordance with their own

cost-benefit analysis what action to take.

The CBD calls on parties to make greater use in

biosphere policy of instruments that draw on the

advantages of economic rationale. A fundamental

message from the OECD handbook is therefore that

appropriately defined property rights and economic

incentives should be utilized, wherever possible, to

provide incentives for sustainable use, and that

recourse should only be taken to regulations, access

restrictions and sustainable use subsidies where this

is absolutely essential (OECD, 1998).

In light of the large number of players that are

involved in protecting and using biodiversity and the

complex links between the anthroposphere and biosphere,

the OECD handbook is based on a broad

understanding of incentive instruments. In addition

to economic incentive instruments in the narrow

sense (ie property rights, taxes and other levies, certificates)

the following measures are also counted

under incentive instruments:

– strengthening scientific and technical capacities,

– including all relevant players in the decision-making

process on the conservation and use of the biosphere,

– ensuring that all available information on biological

resources and their impairment is provided to


– strengthening or creating suitable institutions in

order to be able to make the requisite political


– implementing and enforcing incentive measures

in the stricter sense,

– monitoring biological resources.

All of these measures are requirements for support

for the sustainable use or conservation of biological

resources to be forthcoming. Therefore, they constitute

the requisite framework conditions for successful

deployment of the above-mentioned incentive

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