COMBO assists national and local governments in establishing appropriate governance systems and policies to guide implementation of the mitigation hierarchy. Our approach focuses on helping government institutions develop policy tools which support best practice. COMBO has worked with governments to develop new primary legislation which requires that development projects achieve biodiversity goals such as no net loss through application of the mitigation hierarchy. In Uganda, we advised the Government on integration of mitigation targets of no net loss into the National Environment Act (2019) and offset requirements in the Uganda Wildlife Act (2019). We have helped individual institutions develop implementing regulations which describe how primary legislation should be applied for environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) and other development-related activities. In Mozambique, we advised the Government on integrating mitigation requirements into the Regulation for the Conservation Law (2017) and the Decree on Biodiversity Offsets Regulation (2017). We advised the Government of Guinea on integrating mitigation requirements into the Environment Code (2019).

We work with public institutions to support practical solutions which encourage uptake and application of policy. Potential impacts on biodiversity may come from a range of sectors and act through a combination of factors. Mitigation actions to address these impacts often require acting early in development lifecycles and require early planning with a range of actors. Geographical or sectoral planning such as Strategic Environmental Assessment is a valuable approach that improves integration of biodiversity and social risk into development planning. COMBO helps government institutions apply policy by understanding how these impacts can be addressed through better planning to avoid impacts before they take place. As part of our work, we support national roadmaps or strategies which tie together the necessary steps and required actors to ensure effective implementation of policy. We have advised the Governments of Guinea, Uganda and Mozambique in developing these national documents.

Development originates from many sectors including energy, extractive industry, production and transport. Effective application of policy requires coordination across sectors to avoid and reduce complex impacts on biodiversity from multiple industry projects. COMBO supports cross-sectoral collaboration to encourage better application of policy on the mitigation hierarchy by different government institutions. We work with institutions at the highest levels of national leadership, to individual sectoral organisations, through to local government. This support often requires input into appropriate legal, administrative and financial mechanisms and guidance.

National mitigation policy defines required biodiversity outcomes following project development. Best practice such as IFC Performance Standard 6 encourages achieving a net gain for priority biodiversity and no net loss for other biodiversity. However, there are concerns that such approaches do not in fact assure maintenance of biodiversity due to ongoing declines from other sources. The IUCN Impact Mitigation and Ecological Compensation thematic group has identified opportunities for aligning mitigation outcomes with national contributions towards Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 targets. COMBO supports ongoing updates to policy on mitigation outcomes. We lead development of novel approaches which support improved policy links between mitigation outcomes and post-2020 targets.