Nature everywhere and for everyone

23 March 2022 – Nature is declining at an alarming rate in the Netherlands. According to the Council for the Environment and Infrastructure (Rli), the biodiversity crisis is as serious as the climate crisis. Robust nature is crucial for the quality of life in the Netherlands. People depend on nature for their health, for clean drinking water, for healthy food and for clean air. In its advisory report Nature-Inclusive Netherlands, presented today to the Minister for Nature and Nitrogen Policy, the Rli calls on the Dutch Government to reverse the decline of nature and to ensure its recovery. Such efforts will only succeed, however, if the authorities commit to nature everywhere and for everyone.

Ensure that the quality of nature is adequate everywhere

The government’s current nature policy is ineffective in part because it confines itself mainly to protected nature areas. Protecting these areas will not reverse biodiversity loss, however. The authorities must also do their best to restore nature and biodiversity outside them. More green spaces are needed in and around towns and cities, green spaces that everyone can easily walk or cycle to. Nature must also be restored in rural areas, where it has suffered serious deterioration in recent decades. The Rli advocates establishing a minimum quality standard for nature on a region-by-region basis.

Integrate the approach to nature into the transformation of the Netherlands

The Netherlands will be undergoing a major transformation in the years ahead in response to the many challenges it faces, for example in housing construction, the energy transition, climate change adaptation, the nitrogen crisis and the transition to more sustainable agriculture. This transformation will create excellent opportunities for nature restoration outside the protected areas. Many public and private organisations and municipal authorities are also willing to adopt more nature-inclusive practices, but they will only succeed if the authorities support their efforts and fully commit to nature-inclusive policy objectives themselves (e.g. by setting a good example when managing or leasing government-owned land). The Rli recommends a regional approach that integrates nature restoration with policy addressing the other challenges society faces, along with relevant sector-specific agreements. The necessary funds can be provided through the Climate and Transition Fund and Nitrogen Fund, among others.

Take nature fully into account in economic and political decision-making

Nature is essential for human existence. Despite this, it is still regarded mainly as an expense in economic and political decision-making and is therefore not accorded its full due. There are still too many financial and other incentives that promote nature loss; damage to nature goes unpunished and nature restoration unrewarded. The Rli therefore recommends gearing subsidies and tax measures in agriculture, industry and nature management towards building a nature-inclusive society and giving the value of nature more weight in economic and political decision-making.

Note for editors

To request interviews, please contact Rli Communications Officer Miep Eisner at or +31 (0)61536 9339.

For more information about the advisory report, please contact Project Leader Yvette Oostendorp at  or +31 (0)62702 0642.

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