September 12, 2008

Press Briefing With Pavan Sukhdev in Washington to Discuss Report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity

Pavan Sukhdev, Study Leader for a report jointly sponsored by the European Commission and the German government on the economic impacts of biodiversity loss will be in Washington on September 16 for meetings with the World Bank and the Global Forest Leaders Forum.

The study, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB), was commissioned by German Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and European Commissioner for the Environment Stavros Dimas and will be finalized in 2009. But initial results show that by 2050:

-- 11% of the natural areas remaining in 2000 could be lost, chiefly as a result of conversion for agriculture, the expansion of infrastructure, and climate change;

-- almost 40% of land currently under low-impact forms of agriculture could be converted to intensive agricultural use, with further biodiversity losses;

-- 60% of coral reefs could be lost as early as 2030 - through fishing, pollution, disease, invasive species and coral bleaching due to climate change.

"This study notes the severe dangers that biodiversity loss poses to human health and welfare," said Pavan Sukhdev. "And climate change is exacerbating this problem."

"Biodiversity is the natural wealth of the Earth, the basis of life and the prosperity of mankind," added Commissioner Dimas. "But the pool of life is shrinking at an alarming rate. The message is clear: we are robbing ourselves of our own future. It is now vital to step up our actions to safeguard the variety of life on Earth."

He continued: "The economic arguments for nature protection are beginning to enter mainstream thinking, but the approach is still new and more work is needed. Together with the German Environment Ministry, the Commission has therefore launched an initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity and highlight the cost of biodiversity loss and deteriorating ecosystems."

The Delegation of the European Commission and the Embassy of Germany invite you to a press briefing with Pavan Sukhdev on Tuesday, September 16, at 1 p.m. in the Press Room of the Delegation of the European Commission (2300 M Street, NW, Washington DC, 1st floor Press Room). Please RSVP to [email protected] , or (202) - 862 9552

Mr Sukhdev is Managing Director and Head of Deutsche Bank's Global Markets business in India, and a Founder-Director of the 'Green Accounting for Indian States Project', an initiative of the Green Indian States Trust (GIST) to set up an economic valuation and national accounting framework to measure sustainability for India.