This article was originally published on United Nations Environment


By Joop van Bodegraven, policy adviser on nature conservation for the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

“The Netherlands is a densely populated country, with a high standard of living and a world-renowned agriculture and food industry. However, intensive land use is putting pressure on the local environment, causing the degradation of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Only 14 per cent of the land in the Netherlands is covered in natural or semi-natural vegetation or forests; little is left of the region’s original biodiversity. The practices of Dutch companies and the consumption patterns of Dutch consumers are also putting a heavy burden on land resources in other countries around the world.

To reverse this development, the Dutch government and partners are making considerable efforts to conserve high-value biodiversity and natural landscapes, which provide society with many services. Policies are promoting nature-inclusive land use and nature-based solutions to meet people’s needs and halt biodiversity loss.

However, changes in natural capital, and trade-offs and synergies relating to different ecosystem services, are often not taken into account. Therefore, a transition is needed towards a future where companies, government officials and other stakeholders more accurately measure their dependence and impact on natural capital. This will help create a more sustainable society…”

Read on at: United Nations Environment.