Building capacity for national ecosystem assessment: note by the Executive Secretary to the Convention on Biological Diversity

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The Challenge

Biodiversity and ecosystem services are often undervalued and misunderstood, meaning National Policy-setting and decision-making processes have often not taken their true value fully into account.

As a result, different sectors such as forestry, agriculture and water often do not account for the importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services in achieving their own objectives and risk undermining sustainability.

Ecosystem assessments can deliver an evidence base that meets the needs of different sectors and encourages integration. Full stakeholder engagement in carrying out assessments builds understanding and trust in the outputs, and therefore a better outcome. The assessment will undertake a consultative process with a wide range of stakeholders across government and private sectors.


Our solution & impact

The aim of this initiative is to build capacities at the national level to undertake national ecosystem assessments and support the uptake of the assessments into decision making.

Under this initiative, we are currently supporting 12 countries:  Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, Viet Nam, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Grenada, Malawi, Thailand, Dominican Republic and Argentina.


NEA countries

Our global approach:

  • Global workshops will bring together key project partners and national teams to share progress, experience and knowledge
  • An expert Leadership Group has been established to provide expert advice, mentoring and support to the national assessments
  • Lesson sharing and case studies disseminated through different channels and side events at international and regional biodiversity conferences
  • A programme of capacity building, including regular webinars, a help desk facility and dedicated team forum space, fellowship programmes and exchange visits.

Our national approach:

  • Each country will have a National Ecosystem Assessment Report and Summary for Policy Makers based on identified key policy questions, utilising existing data and information on biodiversity and ecosystem services
  • Consistent stakeholder engagement throughout the process to ensure a relevant, credible and legitimate assessment report
  • Integration of assessment findings into decision making through the use of innovative policy tools and methodologies
  • National Platforms established or enhanced to support the assessment process and to provide ongoing communities of practice facilitating a science-policy interface



Expertise & Team

The UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre team carrying out this work have significant experience in supporting countries in undertaking National Ecosystem Assessments.

The work will be led by Claire Brown and Katherine Despot-Belmonte

Partners & Donors

This project is undertaken via funding by the Government of Germany, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, International Climate Initiative (IKI).

The first phase of the national ecosystem assessment project is implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the framework of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Network (BES-Net). UNDP also support the application of the Trialogue approach to the assessments to enhance a three-way dialogue between scientists, policymakers and practitioners. 

The project will be supporting the work of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).