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TEEB study leader emphasizes urgent need for action on biodiversity loss

New York, 21 May 2010 - Activities taking place around the world on the hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme with financial support from the European Commission; Germany, UK, Norway, Netherlands and Sweden [Saturday 22 May] reflect the growing recognition of the importance of biodiversity to all human well-being and for sustaining the ecosystems we all depend upon.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study leader, Pavan Sukhdev says that the day should act as a catalyst for galvanising action to prevent further loss of biodiversity.

'We can and must bring vigorous new thinking to the table to help undo the ongoing damage to our planet's biodiversity' Pavan Sukhdev commented from UNEP New York today.

Awareness of the importance of biodiversity is rising on government and business agendas. There is increasing evidence and understanding about what is being lost in terms of biodiversity, its impacts on the functioning of ecosystems and actions that can be taken to prevent continuing losses.

Hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme, The TEEB study is undertaking an extensive review of the science and economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. By synthesising these different disciplines the study is providing clear recommendations and practical steps forward for addressing biodiversity loss.

The economic case for biodiversity provides compelling motivation for the need to urgently address policy and business practice moving forward. TEEB estimated that the Net Present Value (NPV) of annual Natural Capital loss as a result of forest loss is between EUR 1.35 trillion - EUR 3.1 trillion (US$ 2.0 trillion US$ 4.5 trillion). In September last year TEEB highlighted the coral reef crisis, an ecosystem at a tipping point and one that provides significant human welfare benefits (fisheries, shoreline protection, tourism, recreation and aesthetic value) estimated to be valued as much as US$ 172 billion annually. Within the TEEB reports there are many more examples of the economic argument for conservation and ecological restoration.

Pavan Sukhdev continues: 'Biodiversity Day reminds us that we are only five months away from the Convention on Biological Diversity's COP10 meeting in Nagoya. We must all work towards making the meeting in Nagoya a decisive moment in history. One in which, by recognising the social, economic and ethical dimension of biodiversity loss, political and business leaders take practical steps forward to prevent the continued degradation of our environment and the resulting impacts on human well being.'

The TEEB for Policy Makers report released in November 2009 called for governments to reform and enhance national accounting systems to incorporate the value of Natural Capital; to establish payments for ecosystem services, to reform environmentally harmful subsidies and to invest in ecological restoration.

In July TEEB will release its report for business at the first Global Business of Biodiversity Symposium, taking place in London on 13 and 14 July. In September the TEEB for Local and Regional Policy report will be released. Final findings of the TEEB study will be released at the CBD COP10 meeting in Nagoya in October 2010.


Contact: Tilo Arnhold
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

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