Published Monday, 04 February 2013

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands 

A new TEEB report examines the key role of water and wetlands in supporting human life and welfare. It has been prepared by IEEP, together with experts of the Ramsar Secretariat, the CBD Secretariat, UNEP, UFZ, Wetlands International and IUCN. It was launched in Geneva on 1 February 2013 at International Environment House on the occasion of World Wetlands Day.

Without wetlands, the water cycle, carbon cycle and nutrient cycle would be significantly and detrimentally altered, leading to major losses to human health, welfare and economy. Wetlands provide natural infrastructure that can help meet many policy objectives, including water security, flood defence, climate change mitigation and adaptation, supporting local livelihoods and poverty eradication.

However, in many cases policies and decisions do not sufficiently take into account the multiple ecosystem services provided by wetlands. For this reason, wetlands have been, and continue to be, lost or degraded. This leads to biodiversity loss - as wetlands are some of the most biodiverse areas in the world - and a loss of those ecosystem services which support our society’s needs.

These ecosystem services need to become an integral part of water management in order to make the transition to a resource efficient and sustainable economy. Also, in many cases maintaining and restoring wetlands leads to cost savings when compared to building new manmade infrastructure.

Presenting evidence on the importance of wetlands is crucial to encourage conservation and enhancement of water-related ecosystem services and the wise use of wetlands. This can be done using qualitative, quantitative, spatial or monetary indicators, or a combination of them, depending on the objectives of the analysis, the available resources and the degree of complexity and uncertainty involved.

To read the report and the executive summary go to the main webpage

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