The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity


Geographical coverage

Geographical scale of the assessment Global
Country or countries covered
Any other necessary information or explanation for identifying the location of the assessment, including site or region name

Conceptual framework, methodology and scope

Assessment objectives

TEEB is a global initiative focused on drawing attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity, highlighting the growing cost of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and drawing together expertise from the fields of ecosystem science, economics and development policy to support the mainstreaming of biodiversity and ecosystem considerations in policy making at the local, national and international level as well as in business decision-making whilst ensuring scientific credibility.

Mandate for the assessment

At the meeting of the G8+5 Environment Ministers in Potsdam, Germany (March 2007), the participating countries called for a global study on “the economic significance of the global loss of biological diversity” as part of a “Potsdam Initiative” for biodiversity. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative was launched in order to respond to this mandate and resulted in the production of the following series of reports focused on improving understanding of the economic costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation and to communicate this understanding to key stakeholders:

  1. TEEB - Ecological and Economic Foundations. A report on the fundamental concepts and methodologies for economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  2. TEEB – in National and International Policy Making. A report providing analysis and guidance on how to value and internalize biodiversity and ecosystem values in policy decisions;
  3. TEEB – in Local and Regional Policy and Management. A report providing analysis and guidance for mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem values at regional and local levels, illustrated with case study examples; and
  4. TEEB – in Business and Enterprise. A report providing analysis and guidance on how business and enterprise can identify and manage their biodiversity and ecosystem risks and opportunities.

Conceptual framework and/or methodology used for the assessment

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

URL or copy of conceptual framework developed or adapted

Its conceptual framework is based on the total economic value framework that is widely used in the economic literature, but also draws on the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the Convention on Biological Diversity and work by IPCC. However, TEEB goes beyond economic valuation and explicitly acknowledges and advocates the use of non-monetary valuation which is in many cases more appropriate to make nature's values (including cultural, social, aesthetic and instrinsic value) visible. TEEB embraces all components of biodiversity (genes, species and ecosystems) and addresses all three objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing). The links between biodiversity, ecosystems and poverty are a major focus. The recommendations emerging from TEEB are rooted in an economic diagnosis of the direct and underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, building on the latest knowledge of how to reform perverse incentives and create positive incentives for ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation, including economic valuation.

System(s) assessed

Species groups assessed

Ecosystem services/functions assessed



Supporting Services/Functions

Cultural Services

Scope of assessment includes

Drivers of change in systems and services


Impacts of change in services on human well-being


Options for responding/interventions to the trends observed


Explicit consideration of the role of biodiversity in the systems and services covered by the assessment


Timing of the assessment

Year assessment started


Year assessment finished


If ongoing, year assessment is anticipated to finish

Periodicity of assessment

Assessment outputs



Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature - A Synthesis of the Approach, Conclusions and Recommendations of TEEB

Communication materials (e.g. brochure, presentations, posters, audio-visual media)


Journal publications

Training materials

Other documents/outputs

Tools and processes

Tools and approaches used in the assessment

Process used for stakeholder engagement in the assessment process and which component

Stakeholder involvement is a key success factor of the TEEB study. It is a multi-donor project with several hundred contributors from international organisations, public administration, private sector, research institutes and NGOs. It is also a multidisciplinary project including expertise from science, economics, development studies and policy. This approach is also referred to as "open architecture".

Key stakeholder groups engaged

Stakeholders engaged for the production of the TEEB reports include international organisations, public administration, the private sector, research institutions and NGOS. The case studies collected for the TEEB reports often include stakeholders at the community level.

The number of people directly involved in the assessment process


Incorporation of scientific and other types of knowledge

Supporting documentation for specific approaches, methodology or criteria developed and/or used to integrate knowledge systems into the assessment

Assessment reports peer reviewed



Accessibility of data used in assessment

The data used by TEEB come from case studies from around the world, mostly from peer-reviewed literature. Additional data come from Convention on Biological Diversity documents and networks of expertise. A database is being compiled from the widely dispersed economic studies of ecosystems and biodiversity, including some from grey literature. These data will be freely available for further research.

Policy impact

Impacts the assessment has had on policy and/or decision making, as evidenced through policy references and actions

TEEB initiative has been very successful in raising the interest of policymakers in biodiversity and ecosystem valuation.

Support for the TEEB findings and for building on the TEEB analysis at the national-level has been highlighted in a number of policy platforms and government decisions including:

  • G8 Carta di Siracusa (April 2009)
  • G20 Leaders Statement from the Seoul Summit (November 2010)
  • CBD COP-10 decisions
  • Ramsar Resolution X.12
  • CITES COP-15
  • CMS COP-10
  • Ramsar Resolution XI/17
  • IUCN WCC 2012 Motions
  • CBD COP 11 Draft Decisions

Independent or other review on policy impact of the assessment


Lessons learnt for future assessments from these reviews

While the global TEEB study has been successful in raising awareness about the values of biodiversity TEEB will be most relevant from a policy perspective if it is applied in a national context. Several countries, both developed and developing countries, have expressed an interest in implementing TEEB and or are already implemting TEEB-inspired projects.

Capacity building

Capacity building needs identified during the assessment

TEEB training and capacity building activities are being conducted throughout the globe aimed at making the reports more accessible and supporting stakeholdes in implementing TEEB studies and increasing understanding of the value of nature.

Actions taken by the assessment to build capacity

Network and sharing experiences, Sharing of data/repatriation of data, Workshops, Formal training, Communication and awareness raising

How have gaps in capacity been communicated to the different stakeholders

Knowledge generation

Gaps in knowledge identified from the assessment

A series of studies are currently underway to provide a deeper TEEB analysis of specific sectors and biomes, for instance on agriculture, oceans and wetlands, the later being led by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat.

How gaps in knowledge have been communicated to the different stakeholders

Additional relevant information

Capitalizing on the momentum created by the TEEB reports, the initiative has now moved into a phase of implementation and facilitation focused on facilitating TEEB national and sectoral studies; expanding the TEEB network of experts; and expanding TEEB communications and outreach. The UNEP TEEB Office is also starting to implement an EU funded TEEB implementation project (ENRTP project) in five developing countries (Africa, Asia and Latin America).

A number of TEEB regional, national and sub-national studies are developed around the world and results of the assessments are being published over the next months and years.