International policies & institutions

conference_of_the_parties_cop-11_to_the_convention_on_biological_diversity_hyderabad_india_dscf5257_2Research Phase 2: 2017-2018

In this phase of the project we will identify recent international initiatives invoking the ideas of ecosystem services and ecosystem services valuation. The period of analysis is from the mid-2000s to the present day. The analysis includes international support for PES schemes (financial and technical support), standard-setting and capacity-building initiatives. These include the Global Environment Facility (GEF), UNEP’s guidelines on ecosystem services indicators, Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) initiative, WAVES Partnership (Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services), Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES); the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) central framework; and initiatives by multilateral development banks (such as the Inter-American Development Bank’s Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Program).

Our aim is to understand whether and how international use of the ecosystem services concept has changed over time (e.g., whether there has been a shift from supporting small-scale PES projects to promoting economy-scale valuation exercises), and to understand the social processes through which the ideas of ecosystem services and ecosystem services valuation have become institutionalised in global governance.

We have three goals in Phase 2:

  1. First, we will map the international institutions and their use of the ecosystem services concept from the mid-2000s to the present.
  2. Second, we will identify the individuals and relationships within the policy community for ecosystem services and ecosystem services valuation. We will analyse how the community formed assumptions and knowledge about ecosystem services and valuation (e.g., education/curriculum, employment, professional and civic activities); and how this knowledge was then translated into international policy, project, standards and capacity-building.
  3. Third, we will analyse how the cognitive frameworks governing the international programs are either reinforced or challenged through institutional interaction and/or engagement with critics of ecosystem service valuation.


Working papers and an online interactive map of the international regime for valuing ecosystems will be posted in 2017 and 2018.