Archive for the ‘TEEB’ Category

I recently attended the TEEB 2012 conference in Leipzig titled:  Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: Challenges for Science and Implementation.  A huge variety of presentations were given, too many to begin to catalogue here but the standouts included:

  • An IUCN analysis on whether MPAs can improve the livelihoods of local communities.  The impacts were far from clear and hadn’t received much attention, but I took away from the presentation that distributional impacts are key.
  • Earth Economics’ encouraging story of providing environmental economics and ecosystem services concepts and analysis to local communities who were threatened with a copper mine. The community used the analysis to overturn the decision to mine.  A rewarding presentation if not commenting on displacement effects or the immovable force that is copper demand.
  • Stephen Polasky’s talk demonstrating the trade-offs between environmental protection and growth.  It was nice to see production possibility frontiers (a graph that represents the trade-offs between two commodities for a fixed level of resources), that I haven’t seen since my degree days being  used in an applied setting.

Without being in four different sessions at the same time for the duration of the conference it was difficult to draw out key themes. But luckily members from Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research UFZ were in each and every session and were able to report back at the end of the conference.  My key findings…of UFZ’s key findings were:

  • Application is key. The TEEB ‘community’ believes in the TEEB process as a part of a solution to the natural environment crises currently faced, with this belief comes an urgency to see it begin to take hold in policy. For this reason TEEB and the research surrounding it must ask clear policy relevant questions.
  • Inter-disciplinary work and a common language is required. Not everyone is yet on-board with the TEEB process, or the concepts behind it. TEEB must get allies in all disciplines, for this reason the language adopted must be clear and unambiguous.
  • Mainstreaming was an apt subtitle for the conference and the next challenge for TEEB and environmental economics.

It was an encouraging conference, meeting people from around the world using TEEB concepts in different environmental settings, but there was a sense of preaching to the converted. TEEB ideas need to spread further in order to achieve the desired environmental outcomes.

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