Supporting Decision Making for the Sustainable Use of Ecosystems
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was called for by the United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000. Initiated in 2001, the objective of the MA was to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those systems and their contribution to human well-being. The MA has involved the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide. Their findings, contained in five technical volumes and six synthesis reports, provide a state-of-the-art scientific appraisal of the condition and trends in the world's ecosystems and the services they provide (such as clean water, food, forest products, flood control, and natural resources) and the options to restore, conserve or enhance the sustainable use of ecosystems.
Assessments at sub-global scales are needed because ecosystems are highly differentiated in space and time, and because sound management requires careful local planning and action. The MA sub-global assessments were designed to meet the needs of decision-makers at the scale at which they are undertaken, strengthen the global findings with on-the-ground reality, and strengthen the local findings with global perspectives, data, and models. There are 18 MA-approved sub-global assessments, and an additional fifteen with an associated status.