In this summit, we will discuss and debate innovative natural capital solutions that enhance the environment and strengthen society.
For the opening plenary, we are inviting inspiring keynote speakers to reflect on the past 10 years of natural capital thinking and to discuss the latest innovations in natural capital research, policy and practice. In addition to new ideas, we will hear what works in practice to take us forward. Key questions include: What are our challenges and opportunities in taking natural capital action? What are the natural capital solutions that capture imaginations and create real change in natural, rural and urban environments? This session will include conversation openers from keynote speakers, painting a picture of the current natural capital landscape and generating insights for the following discussions and debates.
Please see below for more information about our summit themes.
New frontiers in natural capital data and methods
This theme focuses on the emerging opportunities to improve natural capital management associated with rapid technological change and methodological innovation. It will explore the transformative potential of new data sources including close to real time satellite imagery, other remote sensing data, and Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices. It will uncover how data assimilation techniques and artificial intelligence (AI) (e.g. machine learning, deep learning) can be applied with the aid of modern cloud computing power to make sense of these data, and integrate them into new decision-support tools. The theme will also examine how different actors – businesses, government agencies, land managers, NGOs, academics and others – are using these approaches in practice, and how they are influencing real world natural capital decisions and outcomes.
Natural capital governance and institutions
This theme focusses on how we can embed natural capital both nationally and locally, which requires consideration of natural capital within a range of institutions and governance arrangements. The UK National Ecosystem Assessment recognised the importance of governance, involving a range of different actors – government, the private sector, voluntary organisations and civil society at large – in decision-making processes. More recently, Defra’s 25 Year Environment Plan notes that “making the vision of a healthier environment a reality requires solid foundations: comprehensive, reliable data; strong governance and accountability; a robust delivery framework, and everyone to play a role”. The theme will explore the methods and approaches that might assist with reconciling existing governance and institutions with natural capital approaches; as well as what can be learnt from the current pilot approaches across the UK and beyond.
Urban health and wellbeing
This theme focuses on exploring the current evidence linking natural capital and human health, and opportunities to deliver beneficial health outcomes through natural capital management in urban settings. Crucial to decision-making around planning and management for health and wellbeing benefits is the evidential basis for attribution of outcomes to interventions. The theme will highlight practical applications of environmental management for health outcomes including the fair distribution of the benefits in urban areas. We will consider the valuation and evaluation metrics relevant to the research, policy and medical communities.
Sustainable land and water management for natural capital
This theme focuses on sharing experiences of implementing natural capital approaches for sustainable land and water management. It covers practical examples of implementation as well as advances in approaches for improving understanding of the evidence linking natural capital assets in land and water systems to ecosystem services and human benefits. Advances may include ‘wholescape thinking’ – holistic solutions to improve integrated management and partnership working across conventional sectoral, administrative and geographical boundaries. They may also include assessments of global change and sustainable land and water management: how can we ensure the resilience of our natural capital for future generations?
Sustainable marine planning for natural capital
This theme focuses on the opportunities associated with the marine environment and explores how natural capital approaches can help society protect and sustainably exploit our seas, which face increasing pressures from climate change, commercial fishing, mineral extraction, and pollution . Whilst we need more information about marine natural capital and its benefits to better understand and communicate its value, we also need to adopt natural capital approaches to get better cooperation amongst regions and businesses regarding the sustainable exploitation of the seas. Natural capital approaches will also help efforts to reduce marine pollution and protect sensitive marine sites and species.
In the closing plenary, will discuss key questions raised in the workshops and debates, including what kind of knowledge is needed to successfully implement natural capital approaches. Our aim is to inspire and enthuse people across sectors to work together, communicating natural capital evidence and promoting natural capital solutions in the wider society. In this session, we will summarise the most compelling new evidence and the most exciting new tools from our discussions and debates to inform future natural capital assessment and action.