The Economics of Biodiversity Loss
The workshop on the Review of the Economics of the Global Loss of Biological Diversity was organised by Ecologic on behalf of the European Commission's DG Environment and the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It brought together more than 80 experts in economics and ecology from more than 20 countries and several supranational institutions in order to explore approaches for estimating the economic significance of the loss of biodiversity and related ecosystem services.
This workshop was part of the preliminary stage of a Review on the economic significance of the global loss of biological diversity, initiated as part of the Potsdam initiative. The objective of this workshop were:
- to discuss the state of the art in assessing the economic costs associated with biodiversity loss,
- to bring together relevant actors from different backgrounds in the discussion and organise an exchange between policy needs and available methods and assessments, and
- to develop recommendations for the Review.
The two-day workshop consisted of panel discussions as well as three parallel break-out sessions with altogether 9 working groups. Within the working groups, specific thematic questions will be addressed. These issues have either come up from the synthesis of the call for evidence or are of general relevance in the field of economic evaluation and policy consultancy. To ensure an open and productive discussion, each working group started with opening remarks by the session leader initiating and guiding the discussion.
Building on evidence provided by scientific research through a call for evidence [pdf, 30kB, English] by the European Commission, this workshop developed recommendations on the way forward for the Review. The Review will be conducted in two phases, with a preparatory phase running up to the Ninth Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-9) in May 2008, and a more substantial phase until 2009, under the responsibility of the appointed Review leader, Pavan Sukhdev.
The conclusions of the workshop [pdf, 750 kB, English] were incorporated into a discussion paper. This paper concludes that while methods have been developed and used widely for some environmental values (especially market values as well as recreation and amenity), there are still several gaps in the literature. Notable among these are the valuation of loss of species other than headline species, marine ecosystems, cultural and spiritual values, and the dynamic aspects of all ecosystems and values.
Furthermore, it became evident that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is now recognised as a key reference for assessing the economics of biodiversity loss and is referred to in many papers, but its applications is incompletely dealt with in the scientific evidence reviewed.
The final report Phase I [scoping]. Economic analysis and synthesis [pdf, 1.1 MB, English] can be downloaded from the Europa website.