Sustainability Land Use and the Environment

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There is well-documented recognition and awareness that nature helps providing efficient solutions that use and deploy the properties of natural ecosystems and the services they provide in a smart, sometimes 'engineered' way.

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These nature-based solutions provide sustainable, cost-effective, multi-purpose and flexible alternatives in support of reaching various objectives. Working with nature, rather than against it, can further pave the way towards a more resource-efficient, competitive and greener economy.

It can also help to create new jobs and economic growth, through the manufacture and delivery of new products and services, which enhance natural capital rather than depleting it. In terms of spatial and peri-urban planning there is also a growing effort to minimize the additional land take and to limit, mitigate or compensate soil sealing. This calls at the same time for a more efficient use of land that has been previously taken, and its restoration, especially in the urban environment.

Sustainable Land Management | Global Environment Facility

The guidelines with best practices to reduce the impact of soil sealing, published by the Commission, can provide inspiration to policy makers. To help tackle those challenges, various European policies promote land and biodiversity protection, sustainable urban development, and the involvement of stakeholders, such as the 7th Environment Action Programme, the EU Soil Thematic Strategy , the EU Biodiversity strategy , and the green infrastructure strategy.

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Very recently, the Commission also adopted an "Action Plan for Nature, People and the Economy " , whose aim is to boost the contribution of other policies to nature conservation. Cities have a high concentration of people who could profit from improvements in urban planning including, among other, more opportunities to get in contact with nature to improve e. They have limited space which needs to be better used in a multi-functional way; they suffer from air, soil and water pollution, and from effects of climate change such as heat islands and heat waves and flash floods - all which are impacting cities' economy, social security and nature.

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Improving biodiversity and the provision of multiple ecosystem services through Green Infrastructure help, improving quality of life, health and human well-being; protecting against the negative effects of climate change and sealing helps to prevent or minimise natural disasters, for example, through increased absorptive capacity of the soil in case of heavy rainfall, or providing a cooling effect in case of heat wave; regenerating cities and diversifying local economies; creating innovative and sustainable jobs, innovative business models and governance tools and improving citizen's health and well-being.

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