The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

The TEEB study was launched by Germany and the European Commission in response to a proposal by the G8+5 Environment Ministers, at their 2007 meeting in Potsdam, Germany, to develop a global study on the economics of biodiversity loss. TEEB is led by Pavan Sukhdev, chairman of Deutsche Bank’s “Global Markets Centre” in Mumbai, a Founder-Director of the ‘Green Accounting for Indian States Project”, and a Co-Chair of the CEESP Theme on Environment, Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment. (TEMTI).

Inspired by the publication of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in 2005 and the Review of the Economics of Climate Change by Nicholas Stern in 2006, TEEB aims to promote a better understanding of the economic value of ecosystem services and to provide practical economic tools to account for this value. An interim report of TEEB was presented to the 9th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Bonn, Germany, in May 2008. A second phase of TEEB is currently underway, administered by UNEP with funding from the European Commission, German Federal Ministry for the Environment, and UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The project is overseen by a high-level Advisory Board, including the IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefevre.

The second phase of TEEB will deliver five major studies during the second half of 2009 and the first semester of 2010, as follows:

D0 – the core science component of TEEB will include a state-of-the-art synthesis of theory and methods for valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services. This component is led by Dr Pushpam Kumar of Liverpool University.

D1 – a key focus of TEEB is to support policies that stem biodiversity loss and encourage conservation, including the reform of harmful subsidies, development of payments for ecosystem services, stronger environmental liability and increased financing for protected areas. This component is led by Dr Patrick ten Brink of the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP).

D2 – biodiversity conservation requires strong support for rural communities and local governments, to help them manage their resources and confront external threats. This component of TEEB will provide practical tools for local administrators and is jointly led by Dr Heidi Wittmer of the Helmholtz-Centre for Enviromental Research (UFZ) and Dr Haripriya Gundimeda of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

D3 – business bears significant responsibility for biodiversity loss but also has a major stake in conserving ecosystems, which provide valuable services to all sectors. This component of TEEB will provide business tools for biodiversity risk assessment and management, identify business opportunities linked to the conservation and sustainable use of biological resources, and promote new tools for measuring and reporting the biodiversity impacts of business. This component is led by Dr Joshua Bishop of IUCN.

D4 – biodiversity conservation ultimately depends on the decisions of individuals, as citizens and consumers. This component of TEEB aims to find novel ways of communicating the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity to a mass audience, around the world. D4 is jointly led by UFZ and Tomorrow’s Company (http://www.tomorrowscompany.com/).

A public Call for Evidence has been launched and contributions are currently being sought for TEEB components on local and regional policy (D2), business (D3) and citizens (D4). The first draft reports on core science (D0) and policy (D1) are nearing completion and will soon be available for public comments. See www.teebweb.info for further details.

CEESP members are encouraged to submit contributions.