Ursula Heinen-Esser: Investments in ecosystems pay off

Note: This text is from the archive.
Published on:
Sequence number: No. 341/09
Publisher: Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety
Minister: Norbert Röttgen
Term of office: 28.10.2009 - 22.05.2012
17th Leg. period: 28.10.2009 - 17.12.2013
New TEEB report: nature must become part of economic accounting

New TEEB report: nature must become part of economic accounting

"Investments in ecosystems pay off. They are a cost-effective way to strengthen resistance to the impacts of climate change and natural disasters. And they help contribute to food security, combat poverty and aid economic development," stated Ursula Heinen-Esser, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry, at the presentation of the latest report of the global TEEB study (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity).

For example, the cultivation and conservation of almost 12,000 hectares of mangroves in Vietnam cost 1.1 million US dollars, but at the same time savings of 7.3 million US dollars were made in maintenance costs for dykes. Worldwide it would be possible to secure vital nature-based services worth around 5,000 billion US dollars per year by investing 45 billion US dollars in protected areas. These services include CO2 storage, conservation and improvement of drinking water supply and flood protection. This is only one of the findings of the latest TEEB report presented today in Brussels by Pavan Sukhdev, head of the study, together with Ursula Heinen-Esser, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Environment Ministry and EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas.

To date, nature and its services are not given sufficient consideration in economic accounting. TEEB recommends a fundamental restructuring of this approach and calls on governments to create financial incentives for the conservation of ecosystems and their services. The diverse value of nature has direct economic impacts on human well-being and prosperity, and on public and private spending. The report stresses that recognising and honouring the services and goods nature provides for society must be made a political priority.

"This report uses very clear examples from all corners of the Earth to demonstrate how this can work. For us policymakers, such a tool is extremely useful. We still have to learn, worldwide, how we can take due account of the value of nature and its services in political decisions", commented Parliamentary State Secretary Heinen-Esser.

TEEB was initiated by Germany and the European Commission at the suggestion of the G8 environment ministers in 2007 to investigate the economic value of biological diversity. The study is being carried out under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). A first interim report was presented at the 9th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the CBD in Bonn in May 2008. At that point it was already obvious that the economic value of ecosystem services for mankind was much higher than economists and scientists had assumed. In September 2009 a TEEB report was presented in Berlin on climate issues which highlighted in particular the climate-relevant aspects in the consideration of biodiversity from an economic perspective. By October 2010 further TEEB reports will follow for public administrations, the private sector and consumers.

13.11.2009 | Press release No. 341/09
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