Insights Wales: Developing an integrated framework for sustainable management of natural resources (SMNR)

Iain Brown | 24/04/2024 | Dundee University | Earth Day 2024

About the Speaker

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Iain leads and co-ordinates research projects on climate change, land use change, water resources and the sustainable management of ecosystems. This is at the interface of the many academic disciplines (natural science, social science, engineering etc.) required to tackle such complex issues. He also has considerable experience in specialist techniques for better understanding and managing change, including: GIS, remote sensing, risk assessment, statistics modelling, scenario analysis, and virtual reality visualisation. He also provides advice on policy issues and decision making regarding climate change, sustainable development and management of natural resources

Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) is a key overarching goal of the Environment Act (Wales) 2016 and also has strong links with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act 2015. It requires a more integrated and long-term approach to balance environmental sustainability with socioeconomic development. To help measure progress against this goal, an integrated SMNR framework has been developed as a facilitatory process to bring together the many target outcomes and indicators in this domain based upon a common structure and principles. The framework aims to emphasise two-way co-benefits between a healthy environment and the wellbeing of people and communities, including actions to further enhance these relationships, building on concepts of resilience and regeneration. The general approach has been further developed using systems mapping to reference existing outcomes/indicators for the main natural resource areas (water, air, soil, land, marine, geological). It is being evaluated and refined through engagement with WG/NRW policy teams and those responsible for environmental reporting through SoNaRR. By encouraging further integration, the systems approach has also aimed to incorporate and measure progress on key cross-cutting themes essential for a sustainable transition, notably climate change and biodiversity recovery, together with the role of  specific initiatives such as nature-based schemes, the circular economy, and place-based actions.  Iain has had the opportunity, through a Welsh Government research fellowship, to combine scientific experience with this innovative and pioneering policy topic, and will reflect on developments to-date and next steps. 

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