Development-induced biodiversity losses continue unabated because most developments invariably result in some residual biodiversity loss. Mitigation measures in traditional environmental impact assessment (EIA) can rarely achieve the goal of No Net Loss (NNL). Biodiversity offsets are applied to the field of international development assistance to achieve NNL in accordance with mitigation hierarchy. However, there are few available references for planning offset projects for the aid practitioners in charge of cooperation projects in developing countries.
The purpose of this working paper is to present a practical approach for incorporating offsets in Japan’s cooperation projects. The paper is based on a review of publications in academic journals and experience drawn from the four recent case studies on preparation of offset projects in developing countries. The paper advocates the need to integrate offset planning within the EIA framework. Based on the analysis of the case studies, prospects of biodiversity offsets in achieving NNL are analysed. The paper concludes that the introduction of offset policy, the political will for policy operation, and the long-term support to developing countries are important for the success of biodiversity offsets in cooperation projects. Japan’s initiatives toward biodiversity offsets can positively influence in promoting conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services in developing countries.
Keywords: Biodiversity offsets, cooperation projects, No Net Loss, environmental impact assessment, ecosystem services