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As Kenya Stages Largest-Ever Ivory Destruction, UNEP Reiterates Zero Tolerance for Illegal Trade in Wildlife
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Ecosystem Management

Scientific evidence shows that ecosystems are under unprecedented pressure, threatening prospects for sustainable development. While the challenges are daunting, they also provide opportunities for local communities, business and government to innovate for the benefit of communities, economies and the global environment. However, in order to secure the environmental conditions for prosperity, stability and equity, timely responses that are proportionate to the scale of the environmental challenges will be required. In creating such responses, governments, the international community, the private sector, civil society and the general public all have an important role to play. As the environmental programme of the United Nations, UNEP is working to articulate, facilitate and support appropriate responses.

In Focus

The Social Dimension of Ecosystem-based Adaptation

Policy series No 12, 2013

An important feature of Ecosystem-based Adaptation to climate change (EbA), besides environmental and adaptation benefits, is the pursuit of social benefits for local communities including vulnerable groups, such as women, youth and indigenous people (e.g. increases in income, diversification of jobs, educational opportunities and gender equality). While EbA can target specific social or environmental impacts, one of its strengths is in the ability to simultaneously maximize synergies between multiple environmental, economic and social goals.

With regards to social benefits, properly implemented EbA projects have the potential to deliver benefits for local communities including food security, shelter, risk reduction, freshwater and medicine supply, and local climate regulation.

This issue of the UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management highlights the importance of the social dimension in developing and implementing ecosystem-based approaches to climate change adaptation through supportive policies and policy instruments.

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Restoring the natural foundation to sustain a Green Economy

60 years of paradigm shift in China, change of policies and practices on to Ecosystem Management

UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management - Issue No. 7.

Putting Ecosystem Managment in the Vision of Africa's Development: Towards a sustainable Green Economy

UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management - Issue No. 6.

The purpose of this policy series is to contribute to the Rio+20 discourse by demonstrating the key role that Ecosystem Management has in underpinning the Green Economy and illustrating the advantages of this approach.
The paper focuses on what to do in the transition period of the next 20 years after Rio+20. It highlights a key solutions using the Ecosystem management approach to tackle the many pressures we are facing. Considering the fundamental basis of life on earth, it is inconceivable that we cannot progress without maintaining the health of earth's diverse ecosystems. It thus falls to all people as individuals, communities, the private sector and representatives of nations, to face up to the challenges ahead and utilise the best available solutions with commitment and understanding, to ensure a stable transition to a Green Economy

UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management - Issue 5 (Sustaining forests: investing in our common future)

Over 410 million people directly depend on forests for subsistence and income. Another estimated 1.6 billion people indirectly depend on forest goods and services.  It is estimated that the annual value of internationally traded forest products is between $150 billion and $200 billion. Also, standing forests are vital in the fight against climate change due to their potential carbon sequestration rate of between 1.1 to 1.6 Gt per year.
The complexity of the current threats to forests notwithstanding, the use of innovative market and policy mechanisms can internalize the true economic value of forests as productive natural assets that generate goods and services at different levels to promote investment. Mechanisms that combine social, economic and environmental benefits are necessary to encourage sustained investment in forests for the success of a green economy.

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Food and Ecological Security

UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management - Issue 4   (Food and ecological security )

We are pleased to send you the 4th issue of the UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management. The current issue focuses on the synergy and trade-offs in ensuring food and ecological security.

World-wide, food prices are soaring forcing countries to swiftly take measures to increase their food security. Most of these measures aim to step up food production; mostly through agricultural intensification with higher levels of input i.e. fertilizer, pesticides, water and new varieties of crops through plant breeding and genetic engineering. This increased pressure on cultivated ecosystems will degrade ecosystems’ ability to provide services to society.

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UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management - Issue No. 2 (The role of ecosystems in developing a sustainable ‘Green Economy’)

The paper discusses how investing in ecosystems can bring about benefits at local as well as at global level e.g. in helping communities adapt to climate change (ecosystem based adaptation), while at the same time enhancing people's livelihoods. Ecosystems and the benefits they provide (e.g. climate regulation, food security, freshwater supply, disaster risk reduction) are fundamental to supporting people’s livelihoods and other life on Earth. Ecosystems play an unequivocal and increasingly important role in both ecosystem-based mitigation (carbon sequestration and storage), and ecosystem-based adaptation (i.e. nature-based societal adaptation to climate change impacts).

The Policy Series is accompanied by an online blog where readers can post their comments, ask questions, and suggest topics for future issues in the series. The blog is available on the UNEP website at

World Oceans Day 2010 - Movie
Governing Marine Protected Areas – Getting the Balance Right

Whilst much guidance exists on how to manage marine protected areas (MPAs), there is little guidance available on how to combine top-down, bottom-up and market approaches to achieve effective and equitable management of MPAs. To fill this gap, a new UNEP Report - Governing Marine Protected Areas – Getting the Balance Right - offers a new approach to planning of sustainable MPAs.
The report presents a new governance framework underpinned by 20 MPA case studies from around the world; reviewed by MPA planners, managers, and governance experts. The complexity of MPA governance has been ‘deconstructed’ using 40 parameters (incentives) in five categories. Guidance and policy options are provided on how MPA planners might combine different incentives to support MPA governance in different contexts.
The report and the supporting resources and case studies are available at Further details can be obtained from

World Oceans Day 2010 - Movie
Killing the Cures

Eric Chivian, Aaron Bernstein and Achim Steiner

Biodiversity is essential for the functioning of ecosystems – from forests and fresh waters to coral reefs, soils, and even the atmosphere – that sustain all life on Earth. The ongoing and escalating disappearance of that diversity will harm society in myriad ways. One way that is often overlooked is the damaging impact on medical science.
Read the full article in the Project Syndicate, 2010


World Oceans Day 2010 - Movie

The UNEP Policy Series on Ecosystem Management, is a tool to facilitate dialogue on various policy issues related to Ecosystem Management. The target audience of the series includes governments, civil society organisations, the academic and scientific community, as well as colleagues in other organisations.

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Further Resources

UNEP priority areas

Climate Change

Disasters and Conflicts

Environmental Governance

Harmful Substances

Resource Efficiency

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