Potsdam Initiative: Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

1 10 2008

moneygamiA recent report from the European Union with which I was marginally involved has been published online.

The meeting of the environment ministers of the G8 countries and upcoming industrialising countries took part in what has been dubbed the ‘Potsdam Initiative‘ have commissioned a series of reports on the ‘Economic significance of the global loss of biological diversity’.

I quote:

‘In a global study we will initiate the process of analysing the global economic benefit of biological diversity, the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the failure to take protective measures versus the costs of effective conservation.’

The first stage was the report was entitled ‘The Economics of Ecosystems & Biodiversity (TEEB)’. Mr Pavan Sukhdev, Managing Director and Head of Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets business in India, and a Founder-Director of the ‘Green Accounting for Indian States Project’, an initiative of the Green Indian States Trust (GIST) to set up an economic valuation and national accounting framework to measure sustainability for India, was recently appointed as the independent Study Leader.

The overall aims of the study are to evaluate the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services, and to compare them with the costs of effective conservation and ‘sustainable’ use. The overall aim is to increase awareness of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services to facilitate the development of cost-effective policy responses to the problem.

The interim report is available here, and the final report will be published shortly on the dedicated website here. The title of the final report of the first phase is THE ECONOMICS OF ECOSYSTEMS AND BIODIVERSITY: SCOPING THE SCIENCE.

I was involved specifically in Section 4.13 ‘Regulation of Natural Hazards’ which are defined ‘as infrequent natural phenomena that – during a relatively short period of time – pose a high level of threat to [human] life, health or property. These include seismic events (volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, tsunamis), extreme weather events (hurricanes, floods), avalanches and land slides. My contribution was mainly with respect to the role of deforestation on flood risk.

The report was jointly prepared by Ana Rodrigues and Andrew Balmford.

CJA Bradshaw

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