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  • Visioning futures: Improving infrastructure planning to harness nature’s benefits in a warming world
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Visioning futures: Improving infrastructure planning to harness nature’s benefits in a warming world

Source(s):  World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF)

 Deeper understanding of the benefits of intact ecosystems—natural capital— must be a part of land use planning processes that precede the inception of sectorspecific master plans and infrastructure projects. Key decision makers in ministries of economy, finance, planning, transport, and construction, and regional and local governments, need to be able to make development planning and investing decisions based on more holistic evaluations of

  1. the totality of services provided by ecosystems and the reliance upon them by surrounding or downstream populations and economies,
  2. current and future infrastructure needs based on these dependencies and other critical trends like population growth, migration, and projected economic development, and
  3. current impacts and likely future risks to 1 and 2 from continued warming and the necessary pathways and planning steps to facilitate adaptation and resilience-building.

A process of assessing such dependencies and climate change impacts under varying scenarios—e.g., through detailing possible development trajectories under alternative climate change scenarios—has become an increasingly essential step in planning within various sectors given the uncertainties posed by climate change. Achieved through long-standing and increasingly proven methods like decision-making under deep uncertainty, scenario planning, and back-casting, these approaches are critical tools to facilitate planning for robustness, where plans prioritize options equally likely to function under multiple possible future scenarios of additional warming and resulting impacts. These approaches have, however, rarely holistically included potential changes to landscape scale ecosystems and resulting cross-sectoral impacts, or the benefits ecosystems provide as part of strategic or regional infrastructure planning processes.

This report seeks to at least partially fill this gap, proposing a revised regionaland landscape-scale planning framework, Visioning Futures, based on integrated, participatory assessments of ecosystem services and their values and current and future infrastructure needs under alternative climate scenarios. The goal is to fill these essential information gaps to support improved land use planning and decision-making in the “Avoid” stage of mitigation hierarchy, where critical ecosystems, habitats, and their services are identified, all to ultimately reduce risks for greater private sector investment and provide essential, necessary services that support poverty reduction and sustainable, resilient development. 



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  • Visioning futures: Improving infrastructure planning to harness nature’s benefits in a warming world
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Bartlett, Ryan
  • Number of pages 32 p.

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