Upon the invitation from the Freshwater and Marine Ecosystems Branch, Division of Environmental Policy Implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), IAS Senior Scientific Officer, Mr Patrick Fong attended a technical workshop on Valuation and accounting of Ecosystem services of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) at the UN headquarter, New York, United States of America on 27 – 28 February 2014. With experience in social and economic aspects of natural resources and conservation, Patrick participated in the discussions and sharing of ideas relevant to the various sessions organized and was even selected to be the moderator in one of the sessions.
Workshop participants included academia, government reps, environmental practitioners and private consultants with expertise in the areas of natural and environmental science, ecology, climate change and sustainable development, macro and resource economics of SIDS and SIDS political systems and structure.
Participants reviewed and worked towards finalizing a guidance manual developed by UNEP titled Valuation and Accounting of Ecosystem Services of SIDS. Once finalized the guidance manual will be launched in 3rd International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa in September, 2014. The manual focuses on the development of a scientifically robust document on valuation of ecosystem services and accounting natural capital for SIDS, particularly on how to apply valuation and accounting tool in their own context where island and associated ecosystems contribute to their economic development and livelihood. It is anticipated that with the manual, SIDS can formulate development policies that incorporates the values of ecosystem services which can enable policy makers resolve trade-offs through the capturing of some of the unaccounted benefits of ecosystems.
IAS Director, Professor Bill Aalbersberg commented that IAS’s involvement in the workshop is in accordance with its role in providing scientific services to the region and also in line with the USP Strategic Plan Objectives for Research & Internationalization & Regional and Community Engagement.