Launch of Landmark IPBES Report and the Role of Natural Capital Accounting


Last month, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), released a landmark new report—the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. The report, the first of its kind and the most comprehensive ever completed, was widely publicized in media outlets around the world. Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development and its impact on nature. Its main message was stark: nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history and that the global response was insufficient. As Sir Robert Watson (former IPBES chair) remarked, “The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture. The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.”

Despite this, the Report finds that transformative changes across economic, social, political and technological factors can help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the goals embodied in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. In particular, the Report identifies natural capital accounting as one of the options and tools decision makers have for improving the sustainability of economic and financial systems. At the media launch, Sir Robert Watson emphasized that “the economic system…also needs to evolve from one focus on gross domestic product.” Instead, “there is a need to recognize and incorporate the value of natural capital into our economic accounting and to incorporate the values—monetary and non-monetary values—of biodiveristy into decision making.”

The draft chapters and summary for policy makers can be found here: The media release for the Report can be found here: The media launch recording can be found here: