Valuing natural capital
Nature provides innumerable services that underpin food security, human well-being and indeed, the global economy. These services are rarely valued in terms that can be entered into economic debates within national planning processes and, lacking visible value, they are often traded away inappropriately. If biodiversity and ecosystem services are to be incorporated into decision-making processes, they must be described in terms that decision makers can understand and use.
UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre recognizes that not all values are monetary: biodiversity has intrinsic and cultural values beyond economics. We are exploring both monetary and non-monetary approaches to valuation but, if we want to engage decision makers from all sectors and encourage them to account for natural capital, we must frame the issues in terms of our main global indicator of value: money.