In a recent literature review (Maurin et al., 2022), we found only a few comprehensive and quantitative physical risk scenarios that allow decision-makers to assess the risks of regime shifts in ecosystem services (ES) in a quantitative and comprehensive way for all countries of the world. While waiting for robust dynamic models to be developed, we have proposed in this publication that a short-term alternative for building physical risk scenario narratives is to use the methodological approach of the Environmental Sustainability Gap (ESGAP) framework in conjunction with the ENCORE tool published by UNEP WCMC and NCFA.
The latest developments in ESGAP in Europe have led to the establishment of the Strong Environmental Sustainability Progress Index (SESPI), which indicates whether countries are moving towards or away from good environmental status standards (Usubiaga-Liaño & Ekins, 2022). The SESPI comprises 19 indicators of critical environmental functions. For each of these sub-indicators, it measures whether, under current trends and within a targeted time horizon, the critical environmental functions are approaching or moving away from a safe operating space for the economy and thus the risk of encountering a tipping point.
Based on the trends of the 19 environmental functions included in the European SESPI and without predicting a tipping point, this methodology allows for the development of a 'ceteris paribus' biophysical risk scenario narrative indicating which critical environmental functions are particularly degrading and whether an economy is moving closer or further away from the likelihood of certain ES regime shifts occurring.
However, to achieve this, the mapping tables between the 19 ESGAP critical environmental functions and the 21 ENCORE ecosystem services still need to be specified in order to be able to deduce how the degradation of critical environmental functions can be passed on to all sectors of the economy due to their dependence on ecosystem services.
The objective of the research is therefore to establish, after a scoping literature review, an analytical framework linking ESGAP's critical environmental functions to ENCORE's ecosystem services in order to facilitate the assessment of nature-related physical risks.
The best research partnership proposal submitted in response to this call will be selected and co-financed by AFD. In the absence of a satisfactory partnership proposal, AFD reserves the right not to proceed with this call.
Eligible project proponents:
Universities and research centres, NGOs, private foundations, international research centres, companies (including consultancies and individual consultants) who will share the costs of the research and make all their research public. Proposals for research partnerships are expected to imply that:
- No partner (AFD and the proposal owner) will acquire exclusive ownership of the results. This condition implies the sharing of rights, particularly those relating to intellectual property that may arise from the execution of the contract, between AFD and the proposal holder.
- That proposals based on sharing the financial cost of the research to be carried out will be preferred (it is specified here that proposals for study services invoiced at consultant rates will not be accepted).
The composition of the research team of the research partnership should have preferably the following profile :
- Education: PhD or MsC equivalent in Ecology and Ecological Economics.
- Mixed proven expertise in (i) biodiversity ecosystem services, ecosystem functions and ecosystem conditions studies and in (ii) ecological economics, economics of ecosystem services and strong sustainability studies.
The geographical scope of the research is global and should not lead to specific and usable results for regions or a few countries of the world only. The objective is to propose a global analytical framework that can be generalised to all geographies.
Activities concerned and expected deliverables:
The expectations of the research partnership are detailed in the downloadable file below. It provides for :
- Conducting a scoping literature review to identify the scope or coverage of the ecological literature on the link between Critical Environmental Functions and the delivery of Ecosystem Services. In this case, the purpose is to identify the scope of literature covering critical environmental functions and what kind of ecosystem services they provide.
- The production (based on the previous literature review) of an analytical framework linking ESGAP environmental functions to ENCORE ecosystem services. The aim is that it will be eventually possible to deduce from the degraded environmental functions identified in ESGAP which ecosystem services integrated in the ENCORE tool might be affected.
The results should lead to the writing of a draft research article based on the scoping literature review, possibly to submit to a peer-reviewed research publication, a research report on the proposed analytical framework published in the AFD collection and a policy paper published in the AFD collection.
The total budget all taxes included that AFD may assume under its co-financing for this research is estimated at:
- 30 person x working days of senior researchers (principal investigator)
- 140 person x working days of junior researchers (can be a team with multiple expertise)
The additional expenses (share of staff costs or additional research costs not invoiced to AFD) borne by the partner’s proposal holder as part of co-financing will have to be explained in detail.
Research projects duration:
The research must be completed by November 30th, 2023.