Landmark biodiversity review meeting held today

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  • Landmark review underway to support biodiversity and economy
  • Sir David Attenborough agrees to be review’s ambassador
  • Experts and business urged to come forward with evidence to help balance both priorities

A review into the economics of biodiversity took a step forward today (16 September 2019), as Sir David Attenborough was unveiled as its ambassador.

The Chancellor Sajid Javid addressed the expert panel’s inaugural meeting at HM Treasury this morning – underlining the importance of this work to help preserve the planet, while protecting the UK and global economy.

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta is leading the independent global review, which seeks to:

  • assess the economic benefits of biodiversity globally
  • assess the economic costs and risks of biodiversity loss
  • and identify a range of actions that can enhance biodiversity while delivering economic prosperity

The review, commissioned by HM Treasury in March 2019, further demonstrates the UK’s position at the forefront of environmental protection and comes just months after it became the first nation to legally commit to net-zero emissions by 2050. It will report ahead of the UN’s biodiversity conference (15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity) taking place in October 2020, in China.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, said:

We’re determined to leave the environment in a better state than we found it for future generations.

Protecting nature’s biodiversity has both environmental and economic benefits.

That’s why we asked Professor Dasgupta to carry out the first review of its kind into this area, and I’m delighted Sir David Attenborough has agreed to be an Ambassador.

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, leading the review, said:

Biodiversity is at the heart of our way of life – therefore it is vital we preserve it for generations to come. By placing an economic value on the benefits of biodiversity we will be able to prevent its demise – which is a win-win for our future generations and economies.

I look forward to working with this esteemed panel of experts who bring valued insights and challenge to help meet our objectives in this review.

This follows the Prime Minister’s message at the G7 Summit, in August, that biodiversity and climate change must be addressed in tandem to protect the planet. Ministers are expected to attend various sessions on combating climate change and protecting biodiversity and the environment at the UN General Assembly next week.

Additional information

The natural environment is said to be worth trillions of pounds to the global economy, including through pollination, natural flood defences, water resources and clean air. But without the necessary evidence-base it is difficult for governments across the world to design policies that take this into account. This review will seek to address that.

Advisory panel members:

  • Simon Clarke MP (Panel Chair) – Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury
  • Inger Anderson – Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
  • Juan Pablo Bonilla – Manager of the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Sir Ian Cheshire – Chair, Barclays Bank UK PLC
  • Dominic Christian – Global Chairman for Reinsurance Solutions, Aon
  • Sir Roger Gifford – Chair, Green Finance Taskforce
  • Professor Cameron Hepburn – Professor of Environmental Economics, Oxford Martin School
  • Professor Justin Lin – Director of New Structural Economics, National School of Development, Peking University
  • Professor Georgina Mace – Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, University College London
  • Professor Henrietta Moore – Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity and Chair in Culture, Philosophy and Design, University College London
  • Professor Cosmas Ochieng – Director, African Development Bank
  • Sonia Phippard* – Director General for Environment, Rural and Marine, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds – Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge University
  • Charles Roxburgh* – Second Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury
  • Lord Nicholas Stern – Professor Economics and Government, and Chair of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics
  • Kristian Teleki – Director of Sustainable Ocean Initiative, World Resources Initiative
  • Professor Sir Robert Watson – Director of Strategic Development, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia
  • Kate Wylie – Global Vice President of Sustainability, Mars

*Ex Officio

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