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UN-backed global ecosystems study opens secretariat in Malaysia

UN-backed global ecosystems study opens secretariat in Malaysia

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) today announced the opening of the secretariat for a worldwide project to evaluate the Earth’s ecosystems, which will provide government leaders and experts authoritative information on the global environment.

The Secretariat for the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment, which was launched on World Environment Day on 5 June 2001 at UN Headquarters in New York, will be based in the World Fish Centre in Penang, Malaysia.

The study is a four-year, $21 million effort involving at least 1,500 scientists and research institutions conducting the most extensive study of the world’s ecosystems and their contributions to economic development.

The results are intended to provide decision-makers with authoritative scientific knowledge concerning the impact of changes to the world’s ecosystems on human livelihoods and the environment as well as give governments, the private sector and local organizations better information about steps that can be taken to restore the productivity of the world’s ecosystems.

The study was designed by UNEP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank, the World Resources Institute and other partners. Major funding is provided by the Global Environment Facility, the UN Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the World Bank.

“The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is the first global check-up of the health of our planet, and the results will fill important gaps in the knowledge that we need to preserve it”, said UNEP Executive Director Klaus Toepfer. “It involves the largest number of natural and social scientists ever assembled to look at the consequences of changes to the world’s ecosystems.”