Biodiversity value in spatial policy and planning leveraging multi-level and transformative change



Project coordination:

  • Associacao Do Instituto Superior Tecnico Para A Investigacao E Desenvolvimento, PT

Project partners:

  • CoKnow, DE
  • Aalborg Universitet, DK
  • Municipio De Mafra, PT
  • Universita Degli Studi Di Trento, IT
  • Comune Di Trento, IT
  • Fondazione Icons, IT


07/2022 – 06/2025


Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 101060790


Recently approved by the Commission, the new EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 calls for co-responsible engagement of all relevant actors in order to protect nature. But persistent land use and land cover changes are responsible for increasing biodiversity loss. The EU-funded BioValue project intends to contribute to invert this trend and explore the transformative potential of spatial policy and planning. To do so, researchers will articulate spatial planning and management instruments with environmental assessment and financing instruments, individually and in combined action, across different levels of governance. The project will build upon previous EU projects and local case studies. It will also considering the key steps of the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimise and offset) to stimulate the transformative potential of spatial planning through multi-level and multi-sectoral policies and strategies.

Despite international and European policies in place to halt biodiversity loss, the effect of multi-level, and multi-sector, direct and indirect drivers of change contribute to continuing negative trends. The BioValue proposal was designed upon the fact that persistent land use and land cover changes have a major effect on biodiversity loss; and on the assumption that a transformative change is needed on paradigms, goals and values shaping current spatial dynamics by a mix of sectoral policies. Such transformative change is in line with the IPBES (2020) report and the EU biodiversity strategy 2030 calling for co-responsible engagement of all relevant actors, in a whole-of-society approach to biodiversity. To address this call, we will explore the transformative potential of spatial planning, as the arena for action and the territorial expression of multi-level policies, strategic to invert current trends of biodiversity loss. The objective of BioValue is to safeguard and increase biodiversity by better articulating three instrumental perspectives - spatial planning, environmental assessment, and economic and financing instruments -, individually and in combined action. BioValue builds upon knowledge created by several EU projects, including a conceptual framework on transformative change  ( to be adapted for analysing the potential of instruments and their interactions in local case-studies.

Transformative potential lies in: a) focussing on key steps of the mitigation hierarchy (avoid, minimize and off-set) b) addressing indirect drivers, i.a. by guiding the operationalisation of the renewed EU finance strategy within spatial planning to avoid significant harm and to ensure redesign of potentially harmful projects in the design phase, and c) by providing better articulated instruments for mainstreaming biodiversity concerns into other sectors across different levels of governance.