International Association for Impact Assessment

Defending the Mitigation Hierarchy in the Nature Positive Era

  • Presenter(s): Megan Evans

    Recorded: 18 January 2024

    Facilitator(s): Jo Treweek

    This webinar was given jointly by IAIA IUCN’s IMEC (Impact Mitigation and Ecological Compensation group), part of the Commission on Ecosystem Management. It was chaired by Jo Treweek, co-chair of IAIA’s Biodiversity and Ecology Section. Megan Evans gave the main presentation, and a panel of IAIA and IMEC members took questions from the audience. Megan Evans works for the Public Service Research Group of the University of New South Wales School of Business in Canberra, Australia, where she specializes in environmental policy, governance, and finance. Her current work examined the growth of private sector investment in biodiversity and natural capital.

    Nature Positive had been described as the biodiversity version of a ‘net zero’ climate goal. Coined in 2020 during negotiations over the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Global Biodiversity Framework, it had been enthusiastically embraced by industry, governments, financiers, and the conservation sector. 90 world leaders had signed the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, which called for a nature-positive future to be achieved by 2030, and 11 of the global Fortune 100 companies had already revealed aspirations to contribute to nature positive.

    Given that many efforts to achieve no net loss of biodiversity by applying the mitigation hierarchy during the design and delivery of development projects had failed, the webinar examined whether the rush to jump on the Nature Positive bandwagon would deliver genuine improvements or simply result in more greenwash. With an estimated US $60 trillion of new infrastructure in the pipeline, much of which would damage biodiversity, the panel argued that best-practice implementation of the mitigation hierarchy should not be sacrificed on the altar of the new nature-positive paradigm.

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