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World Bank Launches Partnership for Ecosystem Services Valuation

28 October 2010: The World Bank announced a new Global Partnership for Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services Valuation and Wealth Accounting, an initiative designed to integrate ecosystem services into national accounting.

Building on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) project "The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity" (TEEB), the initiative seeks to bring visibility to many of nature's services to the economy, so that better management of natural environments becomes "business as usual." The new Partnership takes TEEB's work to the next level, developing the systems needed to bring the value of natural capital to the highest level of a country's economic decision-making. By demonstrating ecosystem accounting at scale for a critical mass of countries, the World Bank envisions that the approach will eventually be adopted by many countries.

According to a forthcoming World Bank publication, titled "The Changing Wealth of Nations," the economic value of farmland, forests, minerals and energy worldwide exceeds US$44 trillion, of which US$29 trillion is located in developing countries. This value is primarily commercial, however. Other value lies in the services ecosystems such as forests provide, including hydrology regulation, soil retention, and pollination - as a home to bees and other insects.

The Partnership will include developed and developing countries, international organizations such as UNEP, and conservation and development non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the global organization for legislators, GLOBE International. The initial five-year pilot will "green" national accounts in a group of six to ten countries and seek to: demonstrate how countries can quantify the value of ecosystems and their services in terms of income and asset value; develop ways to incorporate these values into planning and design of specific policies linking wealth and economic growth; and develop guidelines for the practical implementation of ecosystem valuation that can be applied around the world. The partnership was announced in Nagoya, Japan, at the 10th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). [World Bank Press Release]