Supporting policymaker discussions on policy-mix relevance and coherence

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Landscape and urban governance, and its effect on ecosystem service provision, is very often referred to as a complex process including many interacting policies and policy instruments. This is especially the case in urban settings but also for landscapes where land pressure is high, resulting in an increased number of policy objectives.
For researchers aiming to inform and impact decision making at city or landscape level this results into a challenging situation: how to render that complexity into a format that can easily be taken up by policymakers, and in so doing, increase positive impacts on the sustainable management of these landscapes and cities?
So far, many methods have mostly focused on either the evaluation of single policies or in qualitative assessments of policy mixes. While the former approach can provide insights on vertical policy coherence it lacks the potential to analyze horizontal coherence at landscape level. Since a lot of synergies and conflicts between policies are highly contextual and mostly become apparent at implementation, the omission of local horizontal coherence is problematic.
On the other hand, albeit it is certainly relevant from a scientific perspective, the latter approach is prone to result in lengthy reports that end up gathering dust on policymaker shelves. The results generated by both approaches also tend to quickly become redundant considering the dynamic drivers that shape ever evolving landscapes.
To address this challenge, we aimed to develop a quantitative, expert-based method to assess in a relatively quick manner the relevance of a policy instrument mix in regards to local challenges, with the specific aim to support rather than steer policymaker discussions. We will present a few results from the application of this method in 6 cities in the INTERLACE project, along with key lessons learnt.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 14-Oct-2022

Thematic List 2020

  • Nature & society

Thematic list

  • Urban areas


  • policy assessment

Geographic list

  • Europe
  • New World (North, Central and South America)

Free keywords

  • Policy Coherence
  • Nature Based Solutions

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