Last Fall, TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity) issued a "TEEB Manual for Cities: Ecosystem Services in Urban Management." It is a 41-page report geared to "practitioners and policymakers at the local level – including those directly responsible for biodiversity management and those whose work is indirectly related to biodiversity management (for example planners)." I.e., it is not a manual for community activists. Still, its content and approach suggests what our municipal governments could do to "to incorporate a consideration of ecosystem services into municipal functioning as a long-term investment to enhance existing municipal management."
The Manual is the product of cooperation between TEEB (which is hosted by the U.N.'s Environment Programme) and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability. It achieves the remarkable feat of being universal in its language and advice, i.e., applicable to the full range of city experiences in both developed and less developed regions of the world. The advice is down-to-earth, the examples are concrete, the expectations raised are realistic. There are suggestions for Further Reading at the end of every section and there is a comprehensive bibliography at the end.
The basic framework is from the 2005 Millenium Assessments, identifying "ecosystem services." A 6-step approach is described which one can imagine being led by an environmental team within municipal government that reaches out to other departments and the public -- all stakeholders. The steps range from specifying and agreeing on the problem or policy issue with stakeholders, to assessment of the impact of the policy options on the range of stakeholders.
The Manual is not doctrinaire about its step-wise approach. Figure 1 (p. 30 of the report) illustrates its flexibility.
The Table of contents is reproduced below.
2 March 2012
Foreword and Acknowledgements i
Section 1: An introduction to ecosystem services and cities 1
1.1 The Value of Nature for Cities 1
1.2 Ecosystem services: definitions and examples 3
1.3 A focus on ecosystem services: helping cities to achieve their goals 6
Section 2: How to include ecosystem services in decision making and policy – Th e TEE B stepwise approach 11
Step 1: Specify and agree on the problem or policy issue with stakeholders 12
Step 2: Identify the most relevant ecosystem services that can help to solve the problem or policy issue 15
Step 3: Determine what information is needed and select assessment methods 20
Step 4: Assess (future changes in) ecosystem services 24
Step 5: Identify and compare management/policy options 26
Step 6: Assess the impacts of the policy options on the range of stakeholders 28
Section 3: Applying the TEE B stepwise approach within city management 31
3.1 Communicating to decision makers and other line functions 32
3.2 Budget cycle 33
3.3 Spatial planning 34
3.4 Concluding remarks 37
References and bibliography 39