Environmental Audit Committee: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

01 December 2006

In response to the EAC's inquiry the Society addresses four of the nine questions posed. We provide general support for the UN Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) process and its findings but note that the real impact of the MA will become evident in the coming years when governments have had an opportunity to incorporate the MA's findings into their policy strategies. We state that the MA provides the most complete and up-to-date expert summary of the links between ecosystems and human well-being and the status of biological diversity, and provides a useful framework for enabling the implementation of the ecosystems approach to policy.

We conclude that the MA framework and conclusions have had an impact on environment and biodiversity policy and science in the UK, EU and internationally, but they have had little impact on other areas of policy and science. We suggest that if the MA is to have maximum impact it must influence sectors like the international development cooperation, trade, and financial sectors. We recommend that a UK Assessment report could be a useful exercise for testing the assumptions of the MA models and current knowledge of UK drivers of ecological change, and could provide a helpful model for other countries. Finally we suggest priorities for international and UK follow-up.