Natural Capital Initiative

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Logo of the NCI

The Natural Capital Initiative (NCI) is a partnership between the Society of Biology, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and the British Ecological Society. It was conceived in response to the increasing urgency in the need for more sustainable management of natural resources, as highlighted by the 2005 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. The NCI's aim is to facilitate communication between scientists, government, NGOs and businesses on environmental issues and promote an ecosystem approach to environmental management.[1]

The initiative launched with a three-day symposium in London in April 2009 entitled Valuing our Life Support Systems. Invited speakers included Professor Bob Watson (Chief Scientific Advisor, DEFRA), Professor Lord May of Oxford (Climate Change Commission) and Professor John Beddington (HM Government Chief Scientific Adviser). A report summarising the conclusions of the symposium was published in August 2009.[2]

This event was followed in June 2009 by an evening discussion meeting on the subject of Sustainable Cities, as well as a debate in November 2009 From Tsunami to Drought. A further meeting is planned in early 2010.[3]

The four main objectives of the Natural Capital Initiative are to:

  • Inform the Government's implementation of the ecosystems approach - a framework for looking at whole ecosystems in decision making and valuing the services they provide.
  • Identify gaps in science, policy and implementation that inhibit an ecosystems approach.
  • Work with government, parliament, agencies, NGOs, the private sector, scientific bodies and the wider public.
  • Inspire the next generation to engage in the sustainable use of the natural environment.

Its steering group is chaired by Professor Rosie Hails from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

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