The global loss of biodiversity and degradation of natural capital continues at a rapid pace. This is despite the fact that biodiversity and well-functioning ecosystems provide a range of benefits - both direct and indirect - to society and the economy, playing a crucial role in sustaining livelihoods and wellbeing. Efforts to meet the global 2020 biodiversity targets should play a key role in achieving the priorities of the post-2015 development agenda, notably reducing hunger and poverty, improving health and ensuring a sustainable supply of food and clean water. Sustainable use of ecosystem services and natural capital can become a key driver in the transition to a green economy.

IEEP’s work on the global biodiversity challenge focuses on the socio-economic importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services, using this knowledge to support global conservation objectives while recognising the intrinsic value of biodiversity in the process. It also explores opportunities for making natural capital an integral part of the transition to a green economy, at the same time ensuring the equitable sharing of benefits from biodiversity resources.

We have played an integral role in developing the rationale for integrating nature in the green economy through our work on conceptualising the issue. We have a long track record in contributing to work to increase the global evidence base on the value of biodiversity, helping to bring it to bear on decision-making processes (e.g The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – TEEB and understanding the socio-economic value of global protected area networks). We also work on identifying concrete instruments for the integration of nature into policies and decision-making processes, for example we have carried out work on the legal and economic aspects of implementing global provisions for access and benefits sharing (ABS) in the EU.