Showing the benefits of an Ecoregional Economic Development approach – EED (2010-2011)

Ecoregional Economic Development approach


Ecoregional Economic Development (EED) is a spatial concept aimed at integrating economic development and biodiversity conservation within the boundaries of a defined geographical area. The conservation of biodiversity in this area encompasses the sustained delivery of ecosystem goods and services people and to other areas. Spatial planning is an important component of EED. This study aims to show the benefits of an EED approach, thereby hoping to increase national and international support for this approach, creating a basis for a wider use of an EED approach in practice.

Ecoregional Economic Development approach

Ecoregional Economic Development (EED) is a regional development concept with a spatial planning component, having its roots in the rich and internationally renown spatial planning tradition of the Netherlands, but with a firm commitment to ecological, social and economic sustainability. In a sense it is an attempt to combine and further develop the Layered Approach with the principles of the ecosystem approach, the concepts of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the lessons from TEEB and the planning procedures from the CBD SEA Guidelines.

EED is a loosely defined concept. It is not the intention of this document nor of the Netherlands Biodiversity Policy Programme to go into any conceptual debate on its exact meaning. Neither is the intention to provide blueprint-like guidance or procedures. Key is the fact that development planning in a concrete (eco)region provides a territorial / ecosystem basis for integrating sector policies (coherence), leading to a more effective sustainable economic development.

Case studies presented in this research will provide EED examples of real-life experiences from around the world. The rather abstract expose provided in this section will come to life with practical examples and lessons.

  • Top-down, bottom-up, or both?  Lessons from the Upper Breede River area, Western Cape,   South Africa
  • Master Plan for the Rehabilitation and Revitalisation of the Ex-Mega Rice Project Area in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
  • Ecoregional economic development in the Lake Naivasha Region, Kenya
  • Planning and Environmental Assessment in the Greater Mekong Subregion
  • Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation (TWC), the Dutch Wadden Area

 Lake Naivasha

Objective of the study

Ecoregional economic development is still a relatively unknown approach to most key decision makers in government, in social organizations and in businesses. Therefore, the potential of an EED approach to contribute to some of the key policy areas of the coming years and the opportunities for policy makers to bring an EED approach into practice have remained underexposed.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic affairs, Agriculture and Innovation and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs have initiated this project to show Dutch decision makers in the Netherlands, the EU and developing countries the benefits of an Ecoregional Economic Development approach. By showing the benefits of an EED approach, national and international support for this approach will grow, creating a basis for a wider use of an EED approach in practice.

Mekong Delta

Added value of Ecoregional Economic Development approach

What the extra value is of an EED approach from a policy perspective and from an environmental and social economic perspective. How an EED approach is already being followed around the world (cases) and what we can learn from these experiences. Each of the cases has a link to one or more of the following policy objectives: (a) Sustainable agriculture and food security; (2) Water, disaster reduction en climate adaptation; (3) Sustainable international trade chains; and (d) Protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Involved organisations:

CREM, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

SevS, Oegstgeest, The Netherlands

Institute for Environmental Studies, VU University (IVM), Amsterdam, The Netherlands

IVM contact person:

Pieter van Beukering

Please download the following publications:

The main reader

The case studies report