The UK parliament's Environmental Audit Committee has published the report of its inquiry on An Environmental Scorecard for the UK. It finds that the UK government, despite policy commitments, has fallen short in a number of key respects. In summary:
The committee recommends the government should develop an overarching Environment Strategy to:
- set out strategic principles to guide the action needed to improve the quality of protection over the next 5, 10 and 25 years;
- include the actions and good practices required in local government, as well as the actions needed in central Government to help bring those changes about;
- facilitate a more informed discussion between central and local government about environment resource funding requirements for local authorities;
- encompass a clear assessment of the state of the environment including in each of the 10 environmental areas covered in our report;
- identify the research and analysis work that needs to be done and coordinated to fill gaps in the data that that such assessment requires;
- map appropriate policy levers to each environmental area and set out a clear statement on the place of regulation, public engagement and fiscal incentives as complementary measures. Such a Strategy should involve, for example, a reconsideration of the scope for greater hypothecation of environmental taxes to support expenditure on environmental protection programmes;
It also recommends the establishment of an Office for Environmental Resposibility to:
- review the Environment Strategy we advocate;
- advise Government on appropriate targets;
- advise Government on policies, both those in Government programmes and new ones that could be brought forward to support the
- advise Government about the adequacy of the resources (in both central and local government) made available for delivering the Strategy; and
- monitor and publish performance against the Strategy and its targets
UNEP-WCMC produced in July 2014 a report Towards a Global Map of Natural Capital. It gives an overview of the global perspective and maps for:
- terrestrial carbon;
- soil quality for plant growth using maize as a reference crop;
- terrestrial biodiversity (species richness adjusted by intactness);
- marine biodiversity (species richness across 13 taxa); and
- marine global fish catch
together with a composite map that integrates these elements. Looking forward, the ambition is to increase the number of measures of natural capital, and to attempt to analyse changes over time.
Dickson, B., Blaney, R. Miles, L., Regan, E., van Soesbergen, A.,Väänänen, E., Blyth, S., Harfoot, M. Martin, C.S., McOwen, C., Newbold, T., van Bochove, J. (2014). Towards a global map of natural capital: key ecosystem assets. UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya.
The Arts Council (ACE) published a report in July 2014 on Understanding the value and impacts of cultural experiences, commissioned from WolfBrown. This report is a broad international literature review that deals with language and concepts; measuring individual impacts; valuing arts and culture from the marketing perspective; and creative capacity of an organization. Value is discussed in terms of economic, social and public value, with a primary emphasis on the arts - the broader interest of the humanities and sciences don't seem to be part of scope.
This follows the ACE review earlier in 2014 of The value of arts and culture to people and society. This was an evidence review, looking at economy; health and wellbeing; society; and education, together with gaps in evidence and needs for future research.
Also interesting is the current work of the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value which has developed discussion and evidence to ask "what kinds of investment do we need to ensure the future of culture and how can we work to ensure that all forms of culture are inclusive and accessible for all?"
Welcome to Policy: Science, Biodiversity and Museums
This site covers a wide range of policy issues relating to biodiversity, museums and science. It's selective and although it's a blog it is more alert than comment. John Jackson from the Natural History Museum in London maintains the site, primarily to alert colleagues and collaborators to new developments - you can use the contact link on the top right of this page. It is not an official organisational site.