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Land-use planning frameworks have traditionally focused on developing settlements and related infrastructure. Climate change and biodiversity conservation have not historically always been considered in the formulation and implementation of land-use planning frameworks. Even if they are considered, the focus and impact of land-use planning frameworks is often localized rather than ecosystem wide. While countries are increasingly recognizing and making the connection between land-use planning, biodiversity and climate change, in many countries these considerations are not yet adequately reflected in domestic laws and policies. There is accordingly often an absence of effective legal tools in place to practically facilitate improved integration of land-use planning, biodiversity and climate change issues and concerns.
National land-use planning laws and institutional frameworks are essential for materializing the CBD Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 into concrete local action. Land-use planning laws not only balance infrastructural and economic development priorities with ecosystem services concerns, but also prioritize ecosystem services according to clear rules and indicators, and provide for permitting processes including trigger clauses that can re-open and re-evaluate land-use decisions. They also offers an opportunity to increase the cost-efficiency of conservation and climate change-related activities through the bundling of scarce financial resources. Land-use planning laws can avoid conflicts including those on existing land-uses that are crucial for maintaining ecosystem functioning such as protected area systems; and assist planners in meeting global commitments through, for example, meeting expansion targets for protected area systems in ways that are harmonious with development objectives and that will avoid unnecessary displacement of people or activities.