On the 25th July 2011 the draft National Planning Policy Framework was published by Government. After the release of the Natural Environment White Paper in June this year conservation organisations have been highly anticipating the publication of the Framework, which represents the next step in terms of implementing the declarations of the White Paper.

The document, which integrates the Government’s economic, environmental and social planning policies for England, was issued alongside a statement from the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, who said “It will give local communities the power to protect green spaces that mean so much to them, while still giving the highest protection to our treasured landscapes such as national parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It will also ensure that development needed to grow the economy is carried out in a sustainable way.”

The Government’s objective as stated in the Framework is that planning should help to deliver a healthy natural environment for the benefit of everyone and safe places which promote wellbeing. To achieve this objective, the document states that the planning system should aim to conserve and enhance the natural and local environment by protecting valued landscapes, minimise impacts on biodiversity and provide net gains where possible. The report also makes the statement that planning permission should be refused if significant harm resulting from a development cannot be avoided, adequately mitigated, or as a last resort, compensated for.

The Framework goes on to support the Lawton Review and the White Paper with its goals to minimise impacts on biodiversity by stating that planning policy should take into account the need to plan for biodiversity at a landscape-scale as well as identify and map components of the local ecological networks, including international, national and local sites. In line with EU targets the Framework states that planning will promote the preservation, restoration and re-creation of priority habitats, ecological networks and the recovery of priority species populations.

In terms of climate change the Government’s objective is that planning should fully support the transition to a low carbon economy in a changing climate, taking full account of flood risk and coastal change. To achieve this objective, the planning system should aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support energy efficiency improvements to existing buildings, deliver renewable and low-carbon energy infrastructure and provide resilience to impacts arising from climate change.

The Planning Framework is now open for consultation until the 17th of October 2011 and followed by a series of events taking place across the UK. Read the full document here.

via UK Proposes National Planning Policy Framework | Sustainable Cities Collective.


What are the links between business and development? And what is the business role and opportunity in addressing sustainability challenges of developing countries and emerging economies?As an engine of growth and development, and to underpin its license to innovate, operate and grow, business has a critical role to play in accelerating progress towards development.Companies can most notably develop inclusive business ventures, that is, sustainable business solutions that expand access to goods, services, and livelihood opportunities for low-income communities in commercially viable ways. The notion of inclusive business calls for additional focus and innovation in the way companies do business. It involves creating new forms of employment, new markets, and affordable products and services. This spurs economic growth and encourages entrepreneurship.This article highlights the concept of inclusive business in the current global context, provides a few examples of its application in practice, highlights the foundations for its success, and briefly presents an interactive tool, the “Inclusive Business Challenge”. The latter, designed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, aims at helping companies and stakeholders identify and implement inclusive business in practice.

via Inclusive business for sustainable livelihoods.


Oikos is working on a project of growing sustainable practices for protection, promotion and management of natural resources in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro. Named countries have areas of outstanding natural value (AONVs) and see their development chance in sound management of these areas. They tend to develop tourism and other alternative economic activities with aim of protection and promotion of their natural resources. Project is on going in the framework of Cross-border programme Bosnia and Herzegovina-Montenegro under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (http://wbc-inco.net/object/link/112545.html) . The project is co-financed by Ministry of spatial planning and environment protection of Canton Sarajevo (http://mpz.ks.gov.ba/), which is also actively included in all stages of the project and strongly supports protection and sound development of AONVs.

Project will contribute to development of nature-based tourism by capacity building management authorities of AONVs, tourism organizations and local communities with the purpose of preservation of natural values while at the same time obtaining economical and social benefits.

 At current state of a project activities are focused on working with stakeholders at Monuments of Nature Skakavac, which lies at outdoor of city Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Main tourist attraction of this area is 98 meters high waterfall Skakavac, but there are many more exceptional hydrological and geomorphologic values, as well as high level of biodiversity. Whole area has landscape of exceptional beauty. Forests, meadows, water bodies and cliffs are habitat of endemic and relict species of plant, fungi and animals.

Monuments of Nature Skakavac have ethnological and cultural value too. Area has been populated since XIII century, which was evidenced by cultural remains. There are several villages at Monuments of Nature Skakavac too, but there are almost no inhabitants. Several left during war and nearly anybody came back in last year’s. Few of returners are farming, but there is not enough stock and hardworking hands to prevent natural succession of meadows and biodiversity loss.

In order to valorize area, gather necessary data and work with target groups Oikos went on one-week working visit at Sarajevo. We hiked through Monument of Nature, talked to local community members and other stakeholder. We inquired interest of local community for participation in the sound ecotourism and their current activities connected to the protection and promotion of AONV. We found out that there are some local product and tourist offer on the market, but there is almost non-existent involvement local community in development of area and low level on opportunities and benefits of living in AONVs. A very important role in management of Monument of Nature has Cantonal Authority for Protected Areas. They are present at the place all the time, provide support to local community and successfully prevent illegal actions. Nevertheless, they would need more human, technical and financial resources in case of increased tourist activities. 

Next stages of project will be focused on development of management tools, education, knowledge, information, promotion and partnership with local community connected to the protection of Monuments of Nature Skakavac and sustainable ecotourism.



First, we need to change how we think about communities, businesses, organizations and governments.  We need to understand that economic vitality depends on the health of a community, and that a community is not a set of separate, unrelated systems – a business district, a school system, a park system, a street system — but an ecosystem.  How our businesses do, what happens to our downtowns, what our parks look like, where we spend our money, how we talk about our communities, doesn’t just affect that one thing – it affects everything.  We create a lot of those unintended consequences for our communities simply by not thinking beyond our own pet interests or our own department walls. Take, for example, the profession of economic development.

Economic Development isn’t _really_ about just increasing the number of businesses.  We all know that.  The reason why communities do economic development, why they invest time and resources in it, is to make sure that the local economy has what it needs and is doing what it needs to be doing to support the health of the overall system.  The purpose of economic development, at its core, is to help the community become stronger by making sure that the economic part of the ecosystem is doing its part well.

Here’s the hard truth, though: it’s a whole lot easier to define your

Based on my house, I think I live in the "litter" zone.

Based on my house, I think I live in the "litter" zone.

economic development job, and measure your achievements, if you cast it in terms of “winning new businesses” instead of “facilitating the health of the local economy.”  It’s a lot easier to count new jobs, or new employers, or hits on the web site, or hands shaken at the International Shopping Centers Conference, than it is to evaluate whether you are actually creating a healthier local economy.  That is, unless you have a clear plan and are measuring the right kinds of improvements.  A clear plan and accurate measurements can be done, but they take more honest thought and stronger leadership than just chasing anything that moves.  So more often than not, we count the web site hits and handshakes, shoot what flies and claim what falls, and assume or take on faith that those activities are somehow supporting the community’s ecosystem.  Economic developers are starting to figure out that “quality of life” has something important to do with the ability to grow a local economy, but there’s still a good deal of scrabbling in the dark to figure out how to tie those elements together.  And until that understanding of the interdependence of the economy on the rest of the community ecosystem takes root, it’s going to be far too easy to default to old measures that often hide whether our efforts are helping the larger community or hurting it.

via So how do we start building Wise Economies? Economies = Communities =Ecosystems | Wise Economy.