U.N. Study Brings Price of Nature to the Forefront

The economic importance of the world’s natural assets is now firmly on the political radar, according to a new report highlighting the enormous economic value of forests, freshwater, soils and coral reefs, as well as the social and economic costs of their loss.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report is the result of a two-year study involving hundreds of experts from
around the world. It was launched Wednesday at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s 10th
Conference of Parties meeting (CBD COP10) in Nagoya.

"TEEB has documented not only the multi-trillion dollar importance to the global economy of the natural world, but the kinds of policy-shifts and smart market mechanisms that can embed fresh thinking in a world beset by a rising raft of multiple challenges. The good news is that many communities and countries are already seeing the potential of incorporating the value of nature into decision-making," said Pavan Sukhdev, a banker who heads up the Green Economy Initiative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The TEEB study calls for wider recognition of nature’s contribution to human livelihoods, health, security, and culture by decision-makers at all levels (local to national and business to citizens). It promotes the demonstration, and where appropriate, the capture of the economic values of nature’s services through an array of policy instruments and mechanisms.

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