12th Special Session GC/GMEF Website

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GC Day 1 - 21 February 2012

Side Event

Securing Green Economy Development through Ecosystem Management

The event examined the question “Why is Ecosystem Management key to Securing a Green Economy?” with the objective to emphasize the pivotal role of ecosystem management in the development of a Green Economy and to convey such key messages to Rio+20, discussions centered on how improved ecosystem management could support the greening of economies.

Speakers highlighted ecosystems as the natural foundation of human civilization and a robust, healthy and sustainable ecosystem management is a prerequisite to secure green economy development. Over millennia the services from ecosystems have sustained human beings and promoting ecological civilization where the link between nature and human beings are harmonized.

It was agreed that there is enough evidence showing ecosystems have been profoundly degraded over the last 50 years and multiple stresses including increasing population, economic development and climate change and all these pose serious threats to human life, rural livelihoods and development.

The following items were also discussed: (a) Better managing ecosystems and internalizing natural capital captures the flow of ecosystems services. (b) Increasing degradation of ecosystems is mostly because value is not tagged to it. (c) Complementing GDP by focusing on market, non-market, economic and non-economic value of nature is crucially imperative.

The International Ecosystem Management Partnership (IEMP) co-sponsored by UNEP and Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) is timely and its goal to contribute to the success of RIO+20 by promoting the central role of ecosystems management in the development of a green economy in China and developing countries is timely and crucially important.

The following steps were identified as a way forward: a) the recognition of ecosystem management place and space in this massive transformation towards a green economy; b) that ecosystem management plays a critical role in addressing substantial challenges of green economy development, including promoting the sustainable use of natural capital; c) that market values for ecosystems services have to be assessed and developed to reduce pressure on any specific service. This is crucial as it could turn ecosystem debts to credits in the longer term; d) that using value-systems could be a way forward in advancing the role of ecosystem management in developing a sustainable Green Economy; and e) that the interactions between ecosystem management and the green economy are multifaceted and mutually supportive and provides the basis for enhance synergies in pursuing global sustainability.

In conclusion a number of recommendations were identified, including; a) that ecosystem management is crucial to ensure a sustainable flow of ecosystems goods and services, whilst maintaining healthy and fully functional ecosystems as part of Green Economy development; b) that valuing nature services, and environmental accounting can help improve the economic structure and decision making that has led us to jeopardise our own survival through resource destruction; c) that ecosystem management can provide economic and job opportunities, particularly for poverty alleviation in developing countries; and d) that building capacity and ecological infrastructure is a prerequisite for enhancing ecosystem management and promoting the green economy.