Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
There is a growing need to adopt a new set of Sustainable Development Goals that aim to “Transform the World”. Change comes with collective effort, mutual understanding and knowledge toward specific goals.
Despite the UN and other international organisations making crucial decisions, the result is far from expected. It made me wonder what it is that we are falling short on? Is it the lack of interest or lack of awareness?
That’s when I had a eureka moment, and it suddenly started to make all sense. Many people don’t know the complicated terms and references that are used when we talk about sustainability. The idea inspired me to create a new series called “The ABCs of Sustainability Development”. I hope that this series of blogs is well received and serves its purpose.
The Millennium Ecosystem was primarily framed to create an assessment tool that provides information to decision makers’ focusing on the effects of human actions on the changing biodiversity and ecosystems. Modelled by the Intergovernmental panel, the assessment also shows what changes have affected the ecosystem and what steps can be taken to improve the current situation.
The primary focus of MA is to create conclusive information from scientific information from databases, scientific models, and experiences by indigenous and local communities. The MA goes through a thorough assessment where many findings and reports are considered for conclusive and precise evidence.
It is an excellent tool for decision-makers to set their priorities for action. It also provides a framework for management and planning as it gives foresight over the implications of activities on the ecosystems. It helps to foresee different options for human and environmental development.
The Process of Assessment
The MA is regulated by an international board consisting of UN agencies, scientific organisations, private and public organisations leaders, and representations of indigenous and local communities. It is a 15-member panel board with a review board that consists of social and environmental scientists that look over the technical aspects and survey the information in the assessment. It is supported by a secretariat and is coordinated by United Nations Environment Programme.
The MA is a multi-level assessment backed by many interlinked assessments that consider information recorded and identified at local, national, and global scales. MA assessments are designed to meet the informational needs of the decision-maker regarding the ground reality and strengthen the local findings with a worldwide perspective.
The Budget and Sponsors
The proposed MA budget was estimated to be around $17 million. Additionally, $7 million was included as kind contributions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia fueled this budget, the Government of Norway, The World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the Government of Norway, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the United Nations Foundation.
The MA focuses on amalgamating applied and primary motives of environmental sciences. It has questioned and held the science community accountable for making the policies in policy-relevant methods. The solutions and framework proposed by the MA are set up to establish the scientific foundation for the efforts required to improve human well-being without ruining long-term productivity.
The theoretical framework for the MA ensures that humans are the focus, with appropriate recognition of biodiversity and ecosystems. It aims to encourage people to make decisions based on the well-being of the communities and ecosystem.
The progress with MA and the ongoing research has revealed new possibilities and options for changes in policy change. It also suggests the effects of human actions on the ecosystem and processes and overlooks the services for human well-being. The significant factors affecting the environment include ecosystem services, land-use dynamics, and the current relationship between humans and the environment.
Core Concepts of Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
- The main aim of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is to create a strong foundation for measures required to develop the influence of diversity on human well-being without affecting productivity.
- The core framework in the MA defines the interaction of different aspects of ecosystem and biodiversity and its consideration of human well-being.
- The approach requires a multi-level perspective for better decision-making.
- It aims to incorporate the knowledge of different types that improve the findings and increase the contribution and effect of the results.
The Millennium Development Goals
The Millennium Development Goals were accepted in September 2000 while on the 55th Session of the United Nations General Assembly – also named as Millenium Assembly.
Goal 1: Remove poverty and global hunger
- Reduce the proportion of people whose income is less than a dollar daily by 50% between 1990 and 2015.
- Reduce the population suffering from hunger by 50% between 1990 and 2015.
Goal 2: Basic primary education for all
- Regardless of gender, children should be able to complete primary school.
Goal 3: Ensuring gender equality and empowering women
- Removing gender disparity in primary and secondary education by 2005.
Goal 4: Decreasing the child mortality
- The target is set to be reduced by two-thirds.
Goal 5: Improving the maternal well-being
- Decreasing by nearly three quarters – all between 1990 and 2015.
Goal 6: Dealing with HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases.
- To halt and reverse the spread and incidence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other prominent diseases.
The aim is that poverty and community issues, along with environmental management, can be better managed by cost-effective solutions with improved conditions and governance. MA plays a vital role in helping recognize the need for better investment in ecosystem management, recognized by the governments to eliminate poverty.
Goal 7: Ensuring environmental sustainability
- Implementing the principles of environmental development into national and local policies to reverse the loss of the environment.
- Improving the proportion of the people by 50%, who don’t have access to safe drinking water.
- Making an impactful development in the lives of over 100 million slum residers.
Goal 8: Creating international partnerships for development.
There is a dire need to take decisions and actions based on economic, scientific, institutional, and technological knowledge and experience. MA acts as a base that considers governments, the private sector, and civil society, which helps the scientific team to understand the situation better. It creates an environment where it is possible to envision a new and practical perspective to address the stressing challenges of sustainable ecosystems. The MA releases many global assessments through the process described in the framework.