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Valuation

Options for the Application of Tools for Valuation of Biodiversity and Biodiversity Resources and Functions

Technical Series No. 28

Many components of biodiversity have values that bear characteristics of “public goods”, including the key characteristic of public goods that nobody can be excluded from their use. As markets cannot develop for public goods, the value of these biodiversity components will not be reflected in a market price. Consequently, the prices of many marketed goods and services will not adequately reflect the essential role of biodiversity in their production.

Eliciting this “hidden” value of biodiversity through appropriate valuation tools is an important component of policies that aim to correct the incentives of societal actors. It is not only an important precondition to the internalization of this value in the decision making of these actors, but can also act as an incentive measure in its own right, because it raises awareness among these actors of the hidden values of biodiversity.

Overview of CBD Activities

The importance of valuation has been repeatedly underlined by the Conference of the Parties, and the assessment of the values of biodiversity, as appropriate and applicable to the circumstances of the Parties, is an activity under the Convention's programme of work on incentive measures. At its ninth meeting, in 2008, the Conference of the Parties decided to put more emphasis on this topic, as one important basis for public-awareness campaigns and policy action, and, by decision IX/11, encouraged the Parties and relevant organizations to intensify related efforts.

Two of the Aichi targets of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the 2011-2020 period relate to the valuation of biodiversity:

Target 1: By 2020, at the latest, people are aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.

Target 2: By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems.

Guidance on valuation was developed under the Convention in form of Options for the Application of Tools for Valuation of Biodiversity and Biodiversity Resources and Functions, as well as a number of technical background reports:

Cooperation with relevant international initiatives

COP-10 welcomed the reports of the initiative on the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity (TEEB), initiated at the G-8 meeting of environmental ministers in Potsdam, Germany, in March 2007, and acknowledged the support provided by the United Nations Environment Programme in hosting the initiative, as well as the financial support provided by Germany, the European Union, and others.

An important regional study of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) highlights the critical role of biodiversity and ecosystems in economic development, with a view to inform and engage decision makers in Latin America and the Caribbean on the need to maintain, and invest in, biodiversity and ecosystem services.

The Secretariat was a close partner in implementing both initiatives, and continues to work closely with TEEB partners and UNDP in follow-up activities.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme