The TEEB study is recognised with 2015 KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis Environmental Award

Before I set up Archeus, and also for the first 12 months of being back in NZ to get Archeus going, I had the great privilege of working for the United Nations Environment Programme for a few years on a major study called The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) that sought to show the costs to society of continued biodiversity and ecosystem loss and environmental degradation.

The study was led by the one man force of nature called Pavan Sukhdev, pictured here with two of my very dear colleagues from the study, Heidi Wittmer and Carsten Nesshoever from the Hemholtz Environmental Research Centre UfZ in Germany.

Pavan sent me this picture taken at the awards night last night after receiving the 2015 KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis in Frankfurt for TEEB with a note saying “Bernhard Grzimek 2015 goes to all of us ... Congrats”.

TEEB was one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on. It was a whirlwind and intense and so rewarding. We had a very small core team, an amazing advisory board and an international network of incredible ecologists, economists, policy makers, conservationists and business figures who all contributed so much of their time and expertise to the study. So to wake up this morning and see some recognition in 2015 for all that hard work and dedication was wonderful.

Dr. Edeltraud Leibrock from the Board of KfW Stiftung stated: "KfW Stiftung aims to heighten public awareness of biodiversity with the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis and to raise the attention of leaders in politics, economics, science and civil society to the fundamental importance of fast and sustainable action to ensure a future for all of us."

The foundation KfW Stiftung has split the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis 2015 and the prize money, awarding one half to Emmanuel de Merode, director of Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the other half to the scientist and economist Pavan Sukhdev for leading TEEB.

Commenting on its decision to give the award to Pavan Sukhdev, the jury said: "Pavan Sukhdev has demonstrated that eco-friendly development, far from being an obstacle to growth, is a driving force for growing prosperity, job creation and poverty reduction. The pioneering study 'The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity' (TEEB) creates incentives for governments, businesses and civil society to determine the value not only of traditional financial assets but also of natural resources in an attempt to stimulate sustainable economic growth. As leader of this study, Sukhdev has paved the way for a remodelling of the current economic system that is inevitable in the face of global challenges such as climate change, persistent poverty and the depletion of resources."

Phew - not bad!!!

Emmanuel de Merode has been honoured with the award for his outstanding work in Africa's oldest national park and his commitment to protecting endangered mountain gorillas and the region's unique biodiversity. In addition, he has launched essential economic initiatives in the national park, aiming to secure a sustainable livelihood for the population. He has contributed immensely to reducing poaching and illegal logging and has been crucial to the conclusion of peace agreements with rebel leaders in the border region.

Every two years, the Frankfurt-based foundation KfW Stiftung presents the environmental award KfW-Bernhard-Grzimek-Preis to individuals or organisations with an outstanding track record of developing creative and innovative solutions for preserving biodiversity. The award is named after Professor Bernhard Grzimek, pioneering conservationist and environmental activist, director of the Frankfurt zoo and long-time president of the Frankfurt Zoological Society.

If you would like to read more about TEEB you can find a wealth of information on the TEEB website.

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