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IPBES Values Assessment: plural values of nature – an intergovernmental recognition

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The way nature is valued in political and economic decisions is both a key driver of the global biodiversity crisis and a vital opportunity to address it, according to a four-year methodological assessment by 82 top scientists and experts from every region of the world, including Dr Nibedita Mukherjee from Brunel University London.

Economic and political decisions have predominantly prioritised certain values of nature, particularly market-based instrumental values of nature, such as those associated with food produced intensively. Although often privileged in policymaking, these market values do not adequately reflect how changes in nature affect people’s quality of life. Furthermore, policymaking overlooks the many non-market values associated with nature’s contributions to people, such as climate regulation and cultural identity.

To help policymakers better understand the very different ways in which people conceive and value nature, the Report provides a novel and comprehensive typology of nature’s values. The typology highlights how different worldviews and knowledge systems influence the ways people interact with and value nature. The authors identify four values-centred ‘leverage points’ that can help create the conditions for the transformative change necessary for more sustainable and just futures:

  • Recognizing the diverse values of nature
  • Embedding valuation into decision-making
  • Reforming policies and regulations to internalize nature’s values
  • Shifting underlying societal norms and goals to align with global sustainability and justice objectives

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Reported by:

Eliza Kania, Media Relations
eliza.kania@brunel.ac.uk