Working towards economic valuations of marine ecosystems

04 September 2013 | Article

IUCN Oceania is working with partners to undertake economic assessments of marine and coastal ecosystems in the Pacific Islands. The 6th International Ecosystems Services Partnership (ESP) Conference held last week enabled us to develop the linkages and partnerships critical for our work in the region.

Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai, IUCN Oceania’s Senior Marine Programme Officer attended the ESP Conference held from 26-30 August in Bali, Indonesia. The emphasis of the conference was on the practical application of the 'ecosystem services' concept in planning, management and decision making. There were over 200 presentations, 20 workshops and 18 open sessions on the ecosystem services science and practice in Asia, Oceania and other parts of the world.

The conference provided an opportunity to talk to other colleagues who are working in this field, to become familiar with ecosystem services research, and learn about efforts to implement economic valuations in countries and see how methods used can be applied to the Pacific region,” says Dr. Mangubhai.

IUCN Oceania’s interest in this conference arises from a new project being implemented with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme . The Marine and Coastal Biodiversity Management in Pacific Island Countries and Atolls (MACBIO) project will undertake economic assessments of marine and coastal ecosystems in five Pacific island countries namely Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu over the next 6-12 months.

Marine and coastal ecosystems are economically important for Pacific island countries. However, sustainably conserving and restoring these ecosystems are not adequately reflected in national planning processes, due in part to a lack of knowledge regarding their economic value,” adds Dr. Mangubhai.

Economic evaluations from the project are intended to be integrated into national development plans of the five participating countries. The incorporation of economic values of ecosystems into national budgetary and planning/policy processes has the potential to create greater market incentives for investing in effective protection, and the sustainable use of species and habitats.

For more information please contact Dr. Sangeeta Mangubhai at sangeeta.mangubhai@iucn.org