Millennium Ecosystem Assessment"

International Development written question – answered at on 7 April 2005.

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Photo of Mr Llew Smith Mr Llew Smith Labour, Blaenau Gwent

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department of the study, Millennium Ecosystem Assessment", published by the United Nations and the World Bank on 30 March; what plans he has to liaise with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the impact of the report on the implementation of climate change and sustainable development strategies; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn The Secretary of State for International Development

The Department for International Development (DFID) welcomes the launch of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment" (MA). The report provides a useful and comprehensive overview of recent trends in ecosystem function. The detailed findings of the MA will further strengthen the evidence base for addressing the linkages between poverty and environment. This includes specific consideration of the role of ecosystems in supporting the livelihoods of the poor and the implications of changes in ecosystem function for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

DFID officials have reviewed the main findings of the MA Synthesis Report. They welcome the MA's detailed overview of the status of ecosystems and the consideration of change under different scenarios. DFID's interests primarily relate to policies and actions that respond to environmental challenges while bringing financial and livelihood benefits to the poor. The MA responses of particular interest to DFID include those on: strengthening the integration of environmental considerations in development co-operation; developing markets and economic based incentives for more sustainable ecosystem use; and the research and application of appropriate technologies. This will support development and improvement of tools to better integrate environmental considerations into development co-operation. DFID is already active in many of these areas, for example in taking forward our commitments to support developing countries to integrate environmental considerations into Poverty Reduction Strategies; and work on payment for ecosystem services.

DFID will encourage the agencies involved in commissioning the report, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Secretariats of the Conventions (in particular the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change), to use the MA's analyses and results to inform their policy and implementation work.

DFID maintains strong working relationships with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, especially in the areas of climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development. DFID officials will continue to work closely with DEFRA on these issues, taking account of the relevant findings of the MA.

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