Below you will find an unofficial translation of the terms of reference for the expert commission on nature risk that was presented by the Minister of climate and environment and approved by the Norwegian Government by Royal Decree on 22 June 2022. The official Norwegian version is available in the link here.
You will also find details on the members of the commission and an overview of the secretariat for the commission.
Terms of reference for an expert commission that will submit an Official Norwegian Report on nature risk
Loss of biodiversity constitutes a major threat to sustainable development. Even though the overall state of Norwegian ecosystems is relatively good compared to the world as a whole, there are also challenges in our ecosystems. With our open economy, a large part of our biodiversity footprint will be indirect and occurs in the countries where import goods are produced. In this way, we contribute to the global loss of biodiversity, which may also have serious economic consequences in our country.
Both the loss of biodiversity itself and measures designed to eliminate or mitigate such loss will influence the conditions for and risks associated with economic activities. A new global framework for biodiversity is expected to be adopted during COP 15 in China in 2022. This framework will replace the Aichi targets from 2010. The national follow-up on the framework may contribute to stricter framework conditions for economic activities that affect ecosystems and biodiversity. The same applies to new EU regulations that will be incorporated into the EEA agreement.
With regard to global warming, the climate risk concept has been developed in order to highlight the robustness of companies, sectors and states when it comes to climate change and stricter framework conditions in the transition to a low-emission society. The expert commission on climate risk (Official Norwegian Report NOU, 2018:17) described the risk approach and presented its recommendations on how climate-related risk factors could be reported and managed.
Nature risk has recently been launched as a similar concept in the field of biodiversity. The most important global initiative is TNFD (Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures), which was launched in June 2021. This is an alliance consisting of stakeholders from the financial sector and is supported by the G7 and others. TNFD will develop and deliver a framework that organisations may use to report on and manage nature-related risks, so that global financial flows shift away from activities that have a negative impact on nature to activities that are positive. TNFD published an initial version of the framework in March 2022.
Norway is already affected by climate change. In the Arctic, including traditional Sami regions, temperatures are rising significantly faster than in the rest of the world. Global warming and loss of biodiversity are both major global challenges, and part 2 of the sixth assessment report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clarifies the mutual relationship between climate change and biodiversity. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now assesses climate change to have a greater and more extensive impact on nature than previously assumed. At the same time it is crucial that we maintain our ecosystems in good condition to achieve climate-robust development.
Conflicts between targets also arise, for example in connection with the production of renewable energy. Assessment of nature-related risk will become a part of the knowledge platform used by decision-makers for trade-offs. Even though global warming and loss of biodiversity are both major global challenges, there are also differences indicating that nature risk may differ from climate risk. Global warming depends on increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, regardless of where changes in emissions or the uptake of greenhouse gases take place. Loss of biodiversity takes on a different geographical dimension. Climate change is admittedly becoming an increasingly important cause of the loss of biodiversity, but land use and land use changes remain the number one cause of such loss. Other important causes include pollution, overexploitation and overgrowth. This means that the degradation and loss of ecosystems, for example cultivated land/cultural landscapes and wetlands, is often caused by local actions. This direct link distinguishes the loss of biodiversity from global warming. Currently, there is no global target for biodiversity in the same format as the 1.5 degree climate target in the Paris Agreement and measures for conservation and sustainable use of nature must be adapted to local conditions. However, local losses will altogether, have global consequences, and local actions may be triggered by driving forces from far away. The loss of biodiversity also has a global dimension.
The commission will:
- Describe nature risk based on the approach and terminology used in the report from the expert commission on climate risk, but with necessary modifications due to differences in the two challenges.
- Consider how Norwegian industries and sectors are affected by physical nature risk, i.e. national and global loss of nature and biodiversity, with a main emphasis on physical changes that may constitute the most important risk factors.
- Consider how Norwegian industries and sectors will be affected by expected and potential tightening of framework conditions through changes in global, European and national policies on biodiversity, with a main emphasis on changes that may constitute the greatest risk factors.
- Consider how to most appropriately analyse and present nature risk at the national level.
- Review how affected parties in Norway (private and public sector enterprises and organisations, including financial institutions) analyse and manage nature risk today, identify possible points for improvement and assess and recommend methodology that enable these parties to analyse and manage nature risk in the best possible manner.
The expert commission will familiarise itself with and describe relevant regulations, relevant initiatives and relevant literature nationally, in other countries and at an international level. The work conducted by TNFD will play a central part, as will work on nature-related financial risk under the renewed EU strategy for sustainable finance. The commission will consider possible consequences for global and national framework conditions arising from the upcoming framework on biodiversity and regulations being developed by the EU. The commission should seek knowledge on the status of and possible development for biodiversity through international sources of knowledge, such as the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and through data from relevant knowledge bases in Norway, such as statistics from Statistics Norway, the Norwegian Red List and the Norwegian National Forest Inventory. One key question is which sectors, parties and industries in Norway, including traditional indigenous industries, are most exposed to nature risk, in terms of physical risk as well as risks related to changes in political framework conditions, and originating in national as well as global factors.
The commission will emphasise characteristics of the Norwegian economy and industry structure in Norway, also taking into account that such characteristics change over time. The commission will consider whether and, if so, how nature risk is relevant at a national level and for financial stability. The commission will obtain views and input from affected parties in Norway as needed.
The commission shall not propose specific measures and changes to instruments that in themselves affect the loss of biodiversity and ecosystems. The commission will adhere to the requirements in the Instructions for Official Studies with the limitations and restrictions that arise from the terms of reference.
The report must be submitted to the Ministry of Climate and Environment no later than 31 December 2023.
Members in the expert commission on nature risk
Aksel Mjøs, from Osterøy, Doctor’s degree in finance, Head of department and Associate professor at the Norwegian school of economics and business administration NHH
Ivar Baste, from Dimmelsvik, Master’s degree in biology, former Special adviser in the Norwegian Environment Agency
Kristine M. Grimsrud, from Nesodden, Doctor’s degree in resource economics and econometrics, Senior researcher at Statistics Norway
Atle Harby, from Trondheim, Master’s degree in engineering, Senior researcher at SINTEF Energy
Else H. Hendel, from Oslo, Master’s degree in philosophy, Assistant secretary general for WWF Norway
Audun Korsæth, from Brumunddal, Doctor’s degree in agricultural sciences, Division director at the Norwegian institute of bioeconomy research NIBIO
Idar Kreutzer, from Oslo, Master’s degree in business and economics, Director (international affairs, digitalization and sustainable development) at the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise NHO
Trude Myklebust, from Oslo, Doctor’s degree in law, postdoctor at the University of Oslo
Anders Oskal, from Kautokeino, Master’s degree in business and economics, Director for the International centre for reindeer husbandry and Secretary general for the Association of world reindeer herders
Claire Armstrong, from Tromsø, Doctor’s degree in fisheries economics, Professor at the University of Tromsø
Vigdis Vandvik, from Bergen, Doctor’s degree in vegetation ecology, Professor at the University of Bergen
Liv Anna Lindman, from Hølen, Master’s degree in economics, Adviser for the labour organization LO Norway
Hanne Kathrine Sjølie, from Rendalen, Doctor’s degree in forest economics, Associate professor at the Inland Norway university of applied sciences
Secretariat for the commission
According to the Royal Decree of 22 June 2022 the Ministry of Climate and Environment is responsible for the secretariat for the expert commission.
The secretariat is headed by Finn Katerås in the Ministry of Climate and Environment.
Other members in the secretariat are:
Eli Marie Næss, Ministry of Climate and Environment
Stian Rein Andresen, Ministry of Climate and Environment
Vegard Hole Hirsch, Ministry of Finance
Ivar Ekanger, Ministry of Agriculture and Food
Erland Røsten, Ministry of Transport
Eivind Dale, Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development
Christian Lund Sørensen, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
Kristin Haugen, Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate
Kirsten Grønvik Bråten, Norwegian Environment Agency
Bent Arne Sæther, consultant (retired from Ministry of Climate and Environment)
Contact points in the secretariat are:
Finn Katerås firstname.lastname@example.org
Eli Marie Næss email@example.com