The Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Water and Wetlands

This report on the Economics of Ecosystem and Biodiversity for Water and Wetlands, launched on 1 February 2013, urges a major shift in our attitudes to wetlands, to recognise their value in delivering water, raw materials and food, essential for life, and crucial for maintaining people’s livelihoods and the sustainability of the world’s economies.

The report presents insights on critical water-related ecosystem services in order to encourage additional policy momentum, business commitment, and investment in the conservation, restoration, and wise use of wetlands. It shows how recognizing, demonstrating, and capturing the values of ecosystem services related to water and wetlands can lead to better informed, more efficient, and fairer decision-making. The figures presented in the report tell us that we have often greatly undervalued the importance of both coastal and inland wetlands. The figures show that, comparatively, inland and coastal wetlands deliver higher value per unit area than tropical forests. Comparing the average value (per hectare) for tropical forests suggests that the value for rivers and lakes is almost 1.5 times higher for inland vegetated wetlands (such as floodplains, marshes and swamps), over 8 times higher, and for coastal vegetated wetlands the figure is, remarkably, over 60 times (mangroves and saltmarshes) to over 100 times (coral reefs) higher. A very high proportion of the value of these inland and coastal wetlands comes from their water-related benefits, such as water purification and flood and storm mitigation.

“Everyone in the world depends on water for our life, livelihoods and business, and coastal and inland wetlands are the natural infrastructure that manage and provide our water for us” says Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention. “This report confirms just how hugely valuable our remaining wetlands are to all of us, yet we continue to damage and destroy them at our increasing peril.” The TEEB report stresses the high cost of degradation and the value of wetland restoration. It is now time to translate these findings into action.

Useful links:

Full TEEB Report on Water and Wetlands: download PDF here.

Executive summary [PDF]: in Arabic, Chinese, EnglishFrench,  Russian and Spanish.

Key Messages from the Report:

The report was initiated by the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, with financial support from the Norwegian, Swiss and Finnish Governments and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It was produced by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) and the Ramsar Convention Secretariat, in collaboration with The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) TEEB Office, the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Wetlands International, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ), and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It benefited from contributions of case studies from around the globe, an extensive review process and discussion at the Rio+20 Conference, the Ramsar COP 11 in Bucharest, and the CBD COP11 in Hyderabad.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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