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Human well-being is dependent upon "ecosystem services" provided by nature for free. Such services include water provision, air purification, fisheries, timber production and nutrient cycling to name a few. These are predominantly public goods with no markets and no prices, so their loss often is not detected by our current economic incentive system and can thus continues unabated. A variety of pressures resulting from population growth, changing diets, urbanisation, climate change and many other factors is causing biodiversity to decline. As a result, ecosystems are continuously being degraded. The world’s poor are most at risk from the continuing loss of biodiversity, as they are the ones that are most reliant on the ecosystem services that are being degraded.

The TEEB initiative was launched in response to a proposal by the G8+5 Environment Ministers (Potsdam, Germany 2007) to develop a global study on the economics of biodiversity loss. The Commission has been a strong supporter of TEEB from the start and one of the initiative's largest donors.

The TEEB study evaluates the costs of the loss of biodiversity and the associated decline in ecosystem services worldwide, and compares them with the costs of effective conservation and sustainable use. It intends to raise awareness of the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services and to facilitate the development of cost-effective policy responses and better informed decisions.

TEEB has been conducted in three phases.

Phase 1) Preliminary findings from the first phase were presented at the High-Level Segment of the Ninth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-9) in Bonn, Germany, in May 2008, in the form of an interim report.

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Phase 2) The second, more substantial, phase of the study produced one background report and several reports targeted towards specific categories of decision makers who are also potential users of evaluation tools for biodiversity and ecosystem services:

  • TEEB Ecological and Economic Foundations.
  • TEEB for National and International Policy Makers
  • TEEB for Local and Regional Policy
  • TEEB for Business
  • TEEB Synthesis Report

The final results of these reports were presented at CBD COP-10 in 2010. On 13 November 2009, the Report for Policy Makers was released in Brussels. See the press release of UNEP and the EU press release.

The Report for policymakers is the TEEB output most directly connected to the political agenda and aimed at better integrating biodiversity priorities into policy choices.

The full D1 report is available here. Please go to the TEEB website to view the other reports.

Phase 3) The focus of the ongoing phase III is on communication and outreach activities, on supporting TEEB national and sectoral studies inspired by the TEEB reports and on maintaining the TEEB network of experts.

The Commission is contributing to TEEB Phase III through financing the project 'TEEB National Implementation: Reflecting the Value of Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Policymaking", which is implemented by UNEP. The project aims to implement TEEB in five developing countries, and was launched in Hyderabad at CBD CoP-11. One of the project deliverables is a Guidance Manual to support national TEEB implementations.

Additionally, a European Commission study was recently completed in the context of TEEB. It is designed to support EU Member States in taking forward action 5 of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, which aims to 'improve knowledge of ecosystems and their services in the EU'; "Member States, with the assistance of the Commission, will map and assess the state of ecosystems and their services in their national territory by 2014, assess the economic value of such services, and promote the integration of these values into accounting and reporting systems at EU and national level by 2020."

The full report is available below:

Please go to the TEEB website for other Phase 3 deliverables.