Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA)

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The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) was called for by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2000 and 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, and their findings provide a 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.

The overall aims of the MA were to contribute to improved decision-making concerning ecosystem management and human well-being, and to build capacity for scientific assessments of this kind. The ultimate impact of the MA will depend on the extent to which the MA findings are used by decision-makers, both at the global level (e.g., conventions) and at sub-global scales. Significant assessment capacity has already been built worldwide through participation in the MA. It is also expected that there will be substantial adoption of the MA conceptual framework, approaches, and methods in the ongoing initiatives and programs of the various institutions that have been partners in the MA process.