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Natural Capital

Which countries are integrating natural capital in policy?

Various countries are in the process of further integrating natural capital in nationwide policies. A small selection of examples from Costa Rica, the United Kingdom and Zanzibar show this is feasible.

Costa Rica

In the last two decades, Costa Rica has transformed from one of the world’s most rapidly deforested countries to one of the foremost pioneers in environmental protection, thanks to groundbreaking policies. These comprehensive environmental policies have reversed the trend of environmental degradation and now more than 52% of the country area is covered with forests, which are crucial for tourism and the watershed services they provide. The Costa Rican congress is considering a natural capital law that calls for all environmental impact assessments of public and private investments to incorporate natural capital accounting into its feasibility studies.

For more information visit the Costa Rica country profile on the WAVES website.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, a network of Local Biodiversity Action Plans has been set up, with the aim to take local action to protect and stimulate biodiversity. A tangible example is that in multiple places rivers are reconnected, leading to less flooding and increased awareness of the role of water in local society.

Institute for European Environmental Policy (2013), p. 435-438.

More information also on the website of the UK Natural Capital Initiative.

Zanzibar (Tanzania)

The ecosystems on and around the coast of Zanzibar are responsible for 30% of the country’s GNP, but are affected by tourism. An analysis of the costs and benefits of the ecosystems has shown that small-scale tourism would hinder the ecosystems less than large-scale tourism. The country has adapted her policy after these findings.

WAVES (2012), p. 26-27.

For more frontrunners visit for instance the website of WAVES. The websites of BSR, IUCN, and the Natural Capital Business Hub also provide examples.