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The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

The initiative on 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity' (TEEB) is an important partner in implementing the CBD programme of work on incentive measures, and in particular its work on valuation. Launched at the G8 meeting of environment ministers in Potsdam, Germany, in 2007, this major international initiative, funded by the European Commission, Germany, the United Kingdom, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden, and managed by the United Nations Environment Programme as part of its Green Economy Initiative (GEI), seeks to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward.

Members of the TEEB Advisory Board include the Executive Director of UN Environment, the Executive Secretary of the CBD and the Director General of IUCN, amongst others.

Why does the challenge of conserving and restoring biodiversity remain largely unmet?

One key area is economics: many economies remain blind to the huge value of the diversity of animals, plants and other life-forms and their role in healthy and functioning ecosystems from forests and freshwaters to soils, oceans and even the atmosphere. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) aims to bridge understanding and driving action in this area, adopting a phase-wise approach:

Phase I led to the publication of the TEEB Interim Report, released at CBD COP9, in 2008. The report highlighted the inextricable link between poverty and the loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. It showed how several Millennium Development Goals were at risk due to the neglect and deterioration of ecosystems and biodiversity.

Phase II complemented the third Global Biodiversity Outlook in helping to advance biodiversity policy and response beyond 2010, and to:
  • Integrate ecological and economic knowledge to structure the evaluation of ecosystem services under different scenarios.
  • Recommend appropriate valuation methodologies for different contexts
  • Examine the economic costs of biodiversity decline and the costs and benefits of actions to reduce these losses
  • Develop guidance for policy makers at international, regional and local levels in order to foster sustainable development and better conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • Enable easy access to leading information and tools for improved biodiversity practice for the business community – from the perspective of managing risks, addressing opportunities, and measuring impacts
  • Raise public awareness of the individual’s impact on biodiversity and ecosystems, and areas where individual action can make a positive difference

The reports prepared under TEEB Phase II are underpinned by a volume on the ecological and economic foundations of TEEB. These reports were presented at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties ot the Convention, in October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, and are available at: www.teebweb.org.

Under its phase III, TEEB is supporting the preparation of national TEEB studies in several countries, as well as the preparation of sector or biome-specific studies, such as the currently ongoing work on agriculture and food (TEEB Agri-food). TEEB Agri-Food output includes its evaluation framework and is conceptual foundations study, which is scheduled for publication in 2018.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme