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  • Writer's pictureFiona Smith

'We need to value nature as well as profits to survive' - expert IPBES Values Assessment Report call

The new Values Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has called for an urgent transformation away from narrow economic markers of success in favour of a more holistic sustainable approach to valuing nature in order to combat the biodiversity and climate crises.

The four-year assessment by 82 leading scientists has found that the current market-based focus on short-term profits and economic growth has led to poor decisions that have reduced human wellbeing and contributed to the climate and nature crises. To achieve sustainable development, qualitative approaches need to be incorporated into decision making.

This means properly valuing the spiritual, cultural and emotional values that nature brings to humans.

The report builds on the Dasgupta review which found the planet is being put at “extreme risk” by the failure of standard economics to take account of the true value of nature.

Researchers found that the way stakeholders valued nature was only taken into account on 2% of studies. There are many tools to make the values of nature visible and these need to be implemented - the Natural Capital Accounting approach using the UN-supported SEEA-EA system is advocated by Natural Capital Ireland and explored in Ireland via our INCASE pilot project.

Another way of working is using citizen assemblies, report authors say, as it reflects the sociology of a given people and gives them a chance to discuss their values, interests and understandings. These are now happening at a national level in a number of countries including Ireland.

The Values Assessment includes more than 13,000 references, including scientific papers, and indigenous and local sources of information, done in collaboration with experts in social science, economics and humanities.

Watch the report launch livestream below

Access the full report HERE.

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