Over 100 countries now have law or policies on the mitigation hierarchy and No Net Loss or a Net Gain of biodiversity, biodiversity offsets or compensation.  Multilateral environmental agreements and intergovernmental organisations (such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and IUCN) also have decisions and policies in this area.

Experience is often that governments start with a basic approach to establishing the essential elements of a system for mitigation of impacts on biodiversity, and then develop and improve it over time.  Such a system involves law and policy; scientific and technical guidelines and data; relationships with a variety of stakeholders; and coordination and capacity building in government.  The system requires institutions and tools to help developers apply the mitigation hierarchy, concentrate on effective avoidance measures and find and secure for the long term any biodiversity offsets they may need.

This page helps governments and their advisers think through specific issues related to developing and administering policies and systems for mitigation of impacts on biodiversity and find the tools and approaches they need.  Start by deciding whether to explore the issues at the national or project level: