What is it?

Environment Outlook 2030 and Nature Outlook 2030

The Environment Outlook 2030 and the Nature Outlook 2030 describe the future of the environment and nature in Flanders (northern part of Belgium). The aim is to provide policymakers and the interested public an insight into the possible environment and nature evolutions in Flanders according specific policy choices within a given socio-economic context.

These outlooks help to estimate the impact of the choices of today on the environment and nature of tomorrow. They facilitate long-term thinking and stimulate the debate. They offer support, amongst others, to the Environmental policy plan 2011-2015 (MINA-plan 4).

Scenarios are an integral part of outlooks. The European Environment Agency defines scenarios as 'plausible descriptions of the future' based on 'if-then-assumptions'. Outlooks based on alternative scenarios are much more interesting that simple prognoses because they allow comparisons between alternative solutions. They also give an idea of the bandwidth within which future developments may vary. They form an attractive approach for dealing with complexity and uncertainty.

The Environment Outlook 2030 outlines the possibilities for the future environmental policy on the basis of three policy scenarios :

  • The Reference scenario investigates the scope of the current environmental policy.
  • The Europe scenario considers what is required to realise European ambitions as regards the climate, air and water policy.
  • The Visionary scenario researches how the environment may be secured for present and future generations.

The Nature Outlook 2030 develops the reference scenario and the Europe scenario further as regards the environment. It describes the possible evolution of nature in Flanders on the basis of three land use scenarios for both environmental scenarios:

  • The reference scenario investigates the scope of the current nature, forest and water policies.
  • The 'separation' scenario implements a strict separation between land use in the open space and creates as much as possible spatial and homogenous clusters. Biodiversity conservation efforts are focussed on distinct zones with limited interference with other land uses. The defragmentation of watercourses is prioritised in river networks with species of European importance.
  • In the 'integration' scenario care for nature is an integral part of all land use types (agriculture, recreation, etc.). The land uses of open space are spatially interwoven. Defragmentation of watercourses focuses on the larger migration routes in the watercourse network.

Each land use scenario comprises a package of policy measures, for which the joint effect is calculated. The packages of policy measures are chosen in such way that budgetary costs are comparable.. The scenarios are formulated in consultation with the policy makers. The scenarios contain policy measures from the nature, forest and water policy as well as from other policy fields.

The Environment Outlook 2030 and the Nature Outlook 2030 determine the scenarios on the basis of quantitative calculations. They translate the causes of change into their anticipated effects on the environment and nature using appropriate mathematical models for each scenario. The long-term targets for nature, forest and water policy form a testing framework in the Nature Outlook 2030 for evaluating the anticipated effects.

Click for a schematic overview of the scenarios.

Version 2.0.4 (2016-04-26 10:08) • © VMM, INBO, VITO, 2009