<< Back to: ICLEI e-News | issue 15, November 2008
Biodiversity is the variation of life forms within a given ecosystem. Biodiversity is often used as a measure of the health of biological systems. (photo credit - Worldislandinfo.com)
Bärbel Dieckmann, Pavan Sukhdev, and Monika Zimmermann in Bonn, 24 October 2008
Biodiversity loss, an economic threat to cities and towns
Biodiversity was the theme of the 2008 UN day (October 2008), which is celebrated in Bonn each year. In her introduction to Bonn UN-talks, Mayor Bärbel Dieckmann once again highlighted the relevance of local action. She requested a special recognition of urban biodiversity and municipal services within the international TEEB-study on the loss of biodiversity, which is the equivalent to Stern-report on climate change.
Global study to include local governments
Pavan Sukhdev, lead author of the global TEEB-study, gave a review on the aims of the study: "We want to use the results of the study to underline the fundamental economic importance of the numerous and different aspects of biodiversity." The first findings over the last months have already proven his statement: loosing biodiversity is so costly that not only the basis of life but also a huge amount of economic operations are at risk or impossible.
Strong economic arguments to protect biodiversity
In a short meeting ICLEI representatives and Mr. Sukhdev explored options for cooperation: How can the potentials of local governments be best used to reaching out to the public and, at the same time, how can the results of the study provide arguments, facts and figures for local governments to strengthen their work at the local level? Strong economic arguments for protecting biodiversity will bring a new dimension into global and local debates on the importance of intact ecosystems.
Welcoming local governments contribution
Sukhdev underlined that he welcomed any substantial contribution of local governments and their networks in best practice and knowledge in the upcoming phase II of his research.
Economies are dependent on ecosystems
Biodiversity is the basic resource for food and employment. Economies are dependent on functioning ecosystems and many municipal services based on them, such as fresh water. The loss of biodiversity endangers the global economy to a multiple degree - as the current financial crises does.
ICLEI Biodiversity Task Force
Pavan Sukhdev, the leader of the international TEEB-study on the costs of biodiversity loss, indicated his intention to include local governments in the next steps of his research to Mayor Bärbel Dieckmann from Bonn and Monika Zimmermann, leading ICLEI’s Biodiversity Task Force.