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Ecosystem Assessment

Action 5 on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) under target two of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy foresees that:
“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”.

This specific action aims at providing the knowledge base on ecosystems and their services in Europe. It underpins the achievement of the other targets of the strategy that relate to improving the outcomes of EU nature legislation, integrating biodiversity objectives into sectoral policies, combatting invasive alien species, and helping avert global biodiversity loss), as well as the other actions related to target two (insuring no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and setting priorities to restore and promote the use of green infrastructure). Beyond the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy, it is also relevant to a number of other EU sectoral policies such as agriculture, maritime affairs and fisheries, and cohesion.

A coherent analytical framework has been developed to be applied by the EU and its Member States in order to ensure consistent approaches. It contributes to the ongoing discussion on the conceptual framework for sub-global assessments of ecosystems and ecosystem services under the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem services (IPBES). The second technical report proposes indicators that can be used at European and Member State's level to map and assess biodiversity, ecosystem condition and ecosystem services.

For more information please visit:


Circular Economy


new High-Level Conference on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES) in Europe - 22 May 2014 -Brussels

Hosted by Commissioner Potočnik, the conference has attracted over 300 participants, with speakers including Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research and Innovation, Sharon Dijksma, Minister for Agriculture of the Netherlands, Pavan Sukhdev, who led the ground-breaking study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), and Lisa Emelia Svensson, Swedish Ambassador Oceans, Seas and Freshwater.

As too little is known about the state of the natural environment and the contribution it makes to human wellbeing, many ecosystems across the EU are degraded, and their capacity to provide services we depend on is compromised. Mapping and assessing ecosystems and services like water purification would increase understanding of how the economy depends on natural capital, and ensure that impacts and dependencies on ecosystems are adequately taken into account when major decisions are made.

European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik said: "Talking about the importance of nature and the need to stop biodiversity loss is not enough: it will only happen when good intentions are translated into action on the ground. For this to happen, we need to make sure that we have right information. MAES is designed to fill that gap. It should help us make intelligent decisions about actions that affect biodiversity."

See Press release.

Please find the conference programme and Chair's conclusions.

If you were not able to attend, please find hereafter the links to follow the conference in Web Streaming:

And transcripts of the sessions:


On the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity on "Island Biodiversity", an exhibition showing the striking biodiversity in EU Outermost Regions (ORs) and Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) was opened. The objective was to raise awareness on these areas which host 80% of European biodiversity, 6% of globally threatened species, 7% of coral reefs.  Most of the EU ORs and OCTs are islands sharing challenges and opportunities with their neighbouring countries in the Pacific, Caribbean, Atlantic, Indian and Polar and Sub-Polar regions.