Ecosystem services are goods and services that humans get from nature, and we can talk about provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services. In a Cabinet Decision on 28 October 2011 the Norwegian Government established an expert commission on the values of such ecosystem services.
In line with their mandate, the expert commission on 29 August 2013 presented a Norwegian Official Report (NOU) (Norwegian only) with their conclusions and recommendations to the Norwegian Minister of the Environment, Mr Bård Vegar Solhjell. An English version of the summary will be made available on this home page soon.
The Norwegian government will now undertake a public consultation of the commission’s findings, and consider possible policy follow-up. In their work, the commission has reviewed and drawn on the international project The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), which has looked at key issues related to the economics of biological diversity and ecosystem services.
Boy fishing with his father in their neighbourhood. (Photo: Marianne Gjørv, Ministry of the Environment.)
Meeting with stakeholders - 9 May 2012
The expert commission wants its work and recommendations to be seen as important and relevant by key stakeholders in society, including government at all levels, research and education, business, land owners, environment groups and other non-governmental organisations. Input from key stakeholders is therefore welcomed as a source of knowledge, direction and inspiration, and for improving the science-policy interface.
Against this background the commission organised a meeting with stakeholders in Oslo on 9 May 2012. A large number of organisations and institutions were invited, and 22 organisations made presentations for the commission. The presentations that were made and the written submissions that have been received are available here (Norwegian only).
Members of the commission
The government appointed expert commission had a broad membership with twelve members. The members where appointed based on their professional merits and extensive experience and contacts with research, public management and business, and not as representatives from sectors, stakeholder organizations or government.
The commission was chaired by Stein Lier Hansen (from Drammen), who is Managing director in the national business association Norwegian Industry. He has served as Deputy Minister in the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and he has worked as Director of the Norwegian Directorate for Nature Management and as Secretary general in the Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers.
The other members of the commission where:
Claire Armstrong (Tromsø), Professor at the Norwegian College of Fishery Science at the University of Tromsø
Iulie Aslaksen (Oslo), Researcher in the Research Department of Statistics Norway (SSB)
Kjell Arne Brekke (Oslo), Professor at the Department of Economics at the University of Oslo
Morten Clemetsen (Aurland), Head of strategy and development at Aurland Landscapeworks and Associate professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Dag Hessen (Oslo), Professor at the Department of Biology at the University of Oslo
Kristin Magnussen (Kråkerøy), Environmental economist in the consultancy firm Vista Analyse
Karl-Göran Mäler (Stockholm), Professor emeritus at the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics
Signe Nybø (Trondheim), Assistant head of research at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
Peter Johan Schei (Trondheim), Adviser and former Director of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute
Kristin Sørheim (Tingvoll), Director of the Department for organic food and farming at the Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research (Bioforsk)
Pål Olav Vedeld (Ås), Professor at the Department of International Environment and Development Studies (Noragric) at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences
The Secretariat for the commission was provided by the Norwegian Ministry of the Environment and the members of the secretariat where Anne Brendemoen (head of secretariat), Kirsten Bråten and Finn Katerås.
Forestry (Photo: Svein Magne Fredriksen/Ministry of the Environment)
Background for the establishment of the commission
Ecosystem services are goods and services that humans get from nature, and we can talk about categories of provisioning, regulating, cultural and supporting services.
The term ecosystem services is commonly used for services from nature that our welfare and quality of life depends on. As other countries Norway depends on sound ecosystems and well-functioning ecosystem services, among other things for stable primary production, good water management and reduced vulnerability from climate change.
The commission is to build on the international project The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), which has looked at key issues related to the economics of biological diversity and ecosystem services. The international TEEB project has since 2008 published a series of reports and books on the economics of biological diversity and ecosystem services, targeted for key stakeholders such as international and national policy-makers, regional and local government, and business. The commission is to build on TEEB’s conclusions and recommendations and to consider which elements and recommendations that may be of particular interest and/or relevance to Norway.
The expert commission is to describe status and development trends for Norwegian biological diversity and ecosystem services. The commission will look in particular at ecosystems that are under pressure or in decline and at possible main drivers for this, and it will pay particular attention at services that are important to meet expected effects of climate change and habitat and land use changes. Furthermore, the commission will point at needs and opportunities for better measurement and valuation of ecosystem services and at how this may be reflected in measurement of national wealth. The commission will also identify key research and knowledge needs and look at how relevant knowledge best can be made available to public and private decision makers in Norway.
Forest scene from the Sjåstad valley in Levanger municipality (Photo: Eldar Ryan)
Links to further information
The mandate for the commission covers a number of perspectives related to values of ecosystem services, and the following links may provide more information about these topics and about processes referred to in the mandate:
Fishing for spawning cod (Photo: Kjell Ove Storvik/Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs)