Updates from the Sub-Global Assessment Network: news, events, hubdates and more.....
The SGA Network seeks to create a common platform for practitioners (individuals and organisations) involved in ecosystem assessments at regional, sub-regional, national and sub-national levels to share knowledge, experience and lessons learned. The Network and its activities promote and facilitate improved capacity in undertaking and using assessments and, in so doing, supports international processes, such as the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
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The SGA Network and its activities are kindly supported by the European Commission, the Norwegian Government,  the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the United Nations Environment Programme.
News from the Advisory Committee
Dear Network members,
I am glad to share with you the experience of my visit to the Basque Country SGA team in Bilbao. At the beginning of December I had the pleasure to visit Bilbao again; the local SGA organised an open meeting with politicians, decision-makers, scientists and the general public, and I was invited to share some of my experiences. The meeting included the Basque Country Ministry of Environment and other governmental representatives. The Ministry opened the session, and was followed by a great presentation on ecosystem services, conceptual frameworks and MEAs from Han Qunli, Director, Division of Ecological and Earth Sciences and Secretary, Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, UNESCO. He presented a global picture, then I followed by talking about the state of the SGA Network, the importance of the Network as a mechanism of SGAs experience-exchange, and my experiences from Colombia and advances in the private sector (e.g. Coffee Federation and the empowerment of the ecosystem service concept to increase human well-being by increasing income using the ecosystem approach), the national state government (e.g. the process by which my research team at the University is assessing the Colombian Ministry of Environment on how to use ecosystem services for national and regional planning) and a  new project with indigenous groups in the Amazon, whereby, amongst others we will be trying to identify the ecosystem services associated to salt licks (i.e. landscape elements where many groups of fauna exhibit geophagical behaviours and are good observation sites, and sites important for different cultural traditions).
The meeting ended with the presentation of the Ecosystem Services Evaluation in the Basque Country. Many experiences were shared, and new ideas generated, and of course we will find ways of keeping the momentum up and push for further collaboration!
Happy Christmas!
Dolors Armenteras


Workshop: Food Security & Ecosystem Services, PAU Ludhiana, Punjab, India, 12-13 December 2013
A final workshop to discuss the outreach experiences and lessons learnt towards implementation of the UN Development Account seventh tranche project, 'Capacity-Building in National Planning for Food Security' has been organised by the Punjab Agricultural University in partnership with the Ecosystem Services Economics (ESE) Unit of  UNEP from 12-13 December, in Ludhiana, Punjab, India. For further information please contact Beth Mbote at UNEP.

Workshop: Valuation of ecosystem services in Ca Mau, Vietnam, 18-19 December 2013
The ESE Unit of UNEP will organise a workshop in Ca Mau, Vietnam, one of the pilot sites of ProEcoServ on 18-19 December 2013. The workshop aims to inform the stakeholders about the potential role of valuation tools in mainstreaming ecosystem management into provincial policies. The workshop will specifically discuss international and national experiences in valuation of ecosystem services, using valuation in strategic planning processes, and the role of valuation studies in designing payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes. For further information please contact Beth Mbote at UNEP.

Conference: Seventh Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership, Costa Rica, 8-12 September 2014
The Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) would like to announce that the next (Seventh) conference will be held in Costa Rica on the 8-12 September 2014. The provisional theme for this conference will be 'Form global concept to local action: Ecosystem services in community-based management'. For further information please click here.
IPBES update

An informal consultation on IPBES and capacity building was held from 4-6 November 2013 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The workshop aimed to build further understanding and a convergence of views on how capacity building should be addressed in the context of IPBES. A presentation on the SGA Network was given by Keisha Garcia and the final report refers to the Network specifically as a ‘good example of a community of practice’ which is directly relevant to many of the IPBES draft work programme deliverables. To download the workshop documents click here.

On the 13th December, the SGA Network secretariat (represented by Keisha Garcia, The Cropper Foundation) convened a side event at the second meeting of the IPBES plenary in Antalya, Turkey. The side event was opened by Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid (Chair, IPBES) and included collaboration with partners from UNESCO, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), UNDP, UNEP-WCMC; with contributions from the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Research on Biological Sciences, Colombia. The main focus of the event was on the specific ways in which communities of practice can play a role in helping to meet the priority capacity building needs required to achieve the objectives of the IPBES programme of work. For further information on this event, please contact Keisha Garcia, The Cropper Foundation.


Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Hub
The 8th ad hoc open-ended working group on Article 8(j) under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) warmly welcomed the Community Based Monitoring and Information Systems (CBMIS) initiative developed by indigenous peoples and local communities for their own monitoring needs, including its potential contributions to the Aichi Target. Parties and stakeholders were also encouraged to explore these methods further. The In Depth Dialogue on "Connecting diverse knowledge systems and science, such as under the IPBES, including gender dimensions" also contributed important insights on how to create synergies across indigenous, local and scientific knowledge systems in assessments. The meeting report is available to download from here.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Hub
For more information about the LAC Hub please contact Omar Mohammed, The Cropper Foundation.
If you have any queries about the SGA Network or would like to submit content for the next issue please contact the secretariat at:

Alternatively, visit our website for more information on the SGA Network:

UNEP-WCMC: +44 (0)1223 277314
The Cropper Foundation: +1 868 262 2564


Issue 6 - December 2013

Welcome to the sixth issue of SGANews! This quarterly update aims to share new developments within the Sub-Global Assessment (SGA) Network and our science/policy community.                          
The SGA Network Secretariat

News from the Secretariat
To start this issue off, we wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the activities of the SGA Network secretariat during 2013.
Despite not being able to host our annual SGA Network meeting for 2013 (an event which all of our members look forward to), we have begun discussions with various Network partners about hosting the next meeting and we expect to be able to share some more concrete news with you regarding this event in the coming weeks.
In addition, we have been planning an inaugural SGA Network ‘webinar’ series. The first of these webinars is anticipated to take place in mid-January 2014. Again, we will share further details regarding the webinar series in the very near future. It would be great to receive feedback from our Network members on issues or themes that you would like to see covered using a webinar approach, and resource persons whom may be interested in leading or contributing to the webinars – this is a platform upon which we will aim to develop in the year ahead.
We hope you have enjoyed reading SGANews during the past year. In order to boost the impact and relevance of this line of communication, we do invite feedback on the e-newsletter, which will continue to be published quarterly throughout 2014.
In terms of outreach in 2013, the SGA Network has maintained a good level of activity throughout the year. In January, we ran a side-event at the first plenary of the IPBES in Bonn, Germany, in collaboration with TEEB; in August we hosted two sessions at the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) conference in Bali, Indonesia – one was a special session discussing the science-policy interface, and the other was a training workshop on the tool InVEST with partners from the Natural Capital Project. We were also present at the IPBES Informal Capacity Building Workshop held in Malaysia at the beginning of November, where we considered the role of communities of practice, like the SGA Network, in supporting the work of IPBES. Two weeks ago we ran a parallel session at the SPREP (Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme) 9th Pacific Islands conference on nature conservation and protected areas in Suva, Fiji, and last week we held a side event at the second plenary of IPBES in Antalya, Turkey, with partners from UNESCO, GBIF and UNDP. Further details of some of these events are included in this issue of SGANews. Our Network members have also been able to collaborate in several additional events; for example Alex Forbes (UNEP-UNDP Poverty-Environment Initiative) facilitated a session on ecosystem services in boosting green economies in biosphere reserves at the AfriMAB General Assembly in Ghana in September; and several weeks ago Dolors Armenteras (National University of Colombia) attended a conference on ecosystem services in Bilboa, Spain, to share experiences from Colombia. If you would like any further information on the above events, please feel free to contact the Secretariat team via
Please feel free to get in contact with regard to all things SGA Network related. In addition to welcoming feedback, we will be more than happy to assist with any questions, comments or queries you may have.

News from the Network

Conference: 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation & Protected Areas
On 5th December the SGA Network secretariat in collaboration with members of the secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Secretariat ran a parallel session at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas in Suva, Fiji. The session – ‘The role of ecosystem assessments in supplying the evidence-base for bridging the science-policy interface’ – attracted 35 participants and involved much lively engagement and interaction. In break-out groups participants discussed: i) the type of assessments ongoing in the region, and their pros and cons; ii) the mechanisms of collecting and collating data in the region; and iii) what can the SGA Network do for you? The level of interest proves as a valuable indicator that there is demand for more support in the Pacific region in the field of ecosystem assessments. For example, the need for further guidance on how to successfully bridge the science-policy interface and how to solicit and integrate the views of policy-makers into assessment work. For more information please contact Matthew Ling, UNEP-WCMC.

Conference: Valuation and Accounting of Natural Capital for Green Economy
The ESE Unit of UNEP, successfully organised an international conference on Valuation and Accounting of Natural Capital for Green Economy (VANTAGE) in Africa, in partnership with the Africa Union Commission (AUC), the World Bank, the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) and the Government of Kenya, Ministry of Devolution and Planning, from 3-4 December at the UNEP Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The overall objective of the conference  was to showcase successful efforts by countries and various organisations in undertaking valuation and accounting of natural capital, which has contributed to promoting their transformations to the Green Economy, and to promote awareness and buy-in for future efforts in the related field. An outcome document was adopted as a recommendation to provide a road-map and political support for promoting VANTAGE in Africa. For more information click here.

Seminar: Applicability of ecosystem services in biosphere reserves
Convened on 12 July 2013, the aim of this seminar was to share the experiences and results obtained by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, Biscay, Spain. Strategies that help ecosystem management, which in turn contribute to improved decision-making that affects biodiversity and our well-being in the context of Biosphere Reserves, were also discussed.

Workshop: Ecosystem services: Understanding the concept and its application in landscape management and sustainable development
Following the AfriMAB meeting in September 2013, the EuroMAB Network of the Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO organised a workshop on biosphere reserves and ecosystem services on 17 October 2013, in Frontenac Arch Biosphere Reserve, Canada. The workshop was articulated under three themes: i) building a community of practice; ii) tools and methodology; and iii) collaborative research programmes. The workshop was co-organised with UNESCO ETXEA, the Stockholm Resilience Center and the Mont Saint Hilaire Biosphere Reserve, Canada. It is hoped that on-going cooperation with the SGA Network will be strengthened, particularly with regards to modalities for enhanced exchange of tools and methodologies through the communities of practice and planning of future workshops.

Game: New Web-based game launched on land-use - LandYOUs
Developed for students (age 16+), players step into the role of a politician with the objective of managing the land through the implementation of different policies. The main goal is to invest capital to achieve economic, social and ecological success while considering the challenges of system dynamics, limitations of land and external price effects. The game was designed to be used in conjunction with thematic courses for students and aims to provide insight into the relationships between investments, land-use and different success indicators. To play the game click here.

Newsletter: Young Ecosystem Services Specialists Group
A new initiative started by a group of young and/or early career ecosystem service specialists; the primary aim of the YESS group is to stimulate an exchange of ideas, identify knowledge gaps and improve possibilities for training and capacity building in relation to ecosystem service science and practice. YESS plan to publish a newsletter four to six times a year. 


Highlights of publications on ecosystem services, or assessments, or mainstreaming from partners.

Paper: Notes from the field: lessons learned from using ecosystem service approaches to inform real-world decisions
The Natural Capital Project has published a paper evaluating the applications of ecosystem service information in 20 decision contexts. Six lessons for applying new approaches and tools for biodiversity and ecosystem services have been identified and are presented in this paper. 

Paper: Mapping recreation and aesthetic value of ecosystems in the Bilbao Metropolitan Greenbelt (northern Spain) to support landscape planning
This paper from the ongoing SGA 'Millennium Ecosystem Assessment in Biscay, Basque Country’, describes a method to quantify cultural ecosystem services and their spatial distribution in the landscape based on ecological structure and social evaluation approaches. 

Report: TEEB Georgia scoping study
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Georgia scoping study takes stock of work that has been done thus far on biodiversity and ecosystem services assessments in Georgia; prioritises important economic sectors and highlights critical relationships to biodiversity and ecosystem services. This study formulates important questions that may be answered by a full TEEB study and provides an implementation road-map for undertaking a TEEB study in Georgia. 

Videos and a paper: The Global Assessment of Land Use Dynamics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Ecosystem Services (GLUES)
The scientific coordination project, GLUES, is part of the Sustainable Land Management research programme funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). In this programme, international research teams investigate land-use changes in 12 regions worldwide. A series of video clips have been produced in collaboration with the regional projects. In addition, a group of researchers under the leadership of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) have created and published a new world map of land-use systems in order to assess the global impacts of land-use on the environment and to help provide appropriate counter-measures. Based on various indicators of land-use intensity, climate, environmental and socio-economic conditions, they identified 12 global patterns called 'land system archetypes'.

Report: Making the value of ecosystem services visible: Proposals to enhance well-being through biodiversity and ecosystem services
The Swedish Government commissioned an inquiry to analyse actions and suggest methods and measures to integrate ecosystem services into decision-making, and to improve the knowledge base of the societal value of ecosystem services. The inquiry proposes ecosystem service assessments as a method to create a basis for decisions. By identifying both ecosystem services and users, it becomes clear how we depend on and affect ecosystem services in a given situation or at a certain location which can ensure that ecosystem services are valued more clearly. The Inquiry was led by Maria Schultz, director of The Resilience and Development Programme at the Stockholm Resilience Centre. 

Guidance manual: Value transfer methods for ecosystem services
The purpose of this guidance manual, which focuses on value transfer methods for ecosystem services, is to show how the value of ecosystem services can be estimated and incorporated into decision-making. Specifically, it is designed to help a broad audience of conservation managers, government officials, private sector managers, NGOs, and statisticians to understand the available information on the values of ecosystem services and how this information can be transferred to inform the decisions that they make. 

Outputs: Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ)
ProEcoServ is a GEF-funded umbrella project aiming at piloting the bundling of ecosystem services and the integration of ecosystem services approaches into resource management and decision-making. The ProEcoServ country reports and other outputs, which demonstrate various uses of ecosystem service assessment tools in development policy and planning processes, are available to download from here.



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