Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
Strengthening Capacity to Manage Ecosystems Sustainably for Human Well-Being

International Launch Planned for June

In December 2000, the MA Executive Committee reviewed a concept paper outlining the process for developing the MA communications and engagement strategies. Both strategies will involve a two-phased approach, with a basic set of activities to be implemented during the design year (2001) while a more comprehensive strategy is developed for the course of the assessment process. Several Board and Advisory Group members will be invited to join in the development of these strategies, along with other user groups and stakeholders.

An international "launch" of the MA is being scheduled for World Environment Day, June 5, 2001. The theme for World Environment Day will be "The Web of Life", an excellent fit with the MA.

Work is now beginning on a Data and Information Support System that will buttress the communication, engagement, and analysis involved in the MA. This new website is one of the first components of this strategy.

Engagement of the ecosystem-related conventions continues to be a priority. A side-event on the MA was held at the December 2000 meeting of the Convention to Combat Desertification Conference Of the Parties (CCD COP) in Bonn, Germany and a statement was presented to the Committee on Science and Technology. The COP requested the CCD secretariat to continue following closely the activities of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and to facilitate the involvement of the Parties in order that the concerns of the Parties are taken into account in the assessment. Over the course of the first year, engagement with the MA users will be closely linked to the technical design process since the design must respond to the specific needs of the users.

The Steering Committee that undertook the initial design of the MA also helped shape two related processes to help set the stage for and build support for the launch of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment:

  • A "Pilot Analysis of Global Ecosystems" to demonstrate the utility of an integrated ecosystem assessment, provide a technical foundation for World Resources 2000, and assemble core data that would be used in the full Millennium Assessment;
  • Preparation of World Resources 2000 - People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life, a joint publication of UNEP, UNDP, World Bank, and World Resources Institute.

Each of these activities is now in its outreach phase and helping to raise awareness regarding the importance of ecosystem goods and services and the need for the Millennium Assessment. Four of five PAGE technical reports have been released and the remaining report is in press. World Resources 2000 was launched in September 2000 at the opening of the Bergen Ministerial meeting of 35 environmental ministers, with follow-up launch activities in London, the Czech Republic, the USA, Amman Jordan, and Beijing China. A television documentary based on the report is now being produced in the United States by Bill Moyers in association with CNN, and should be available for release near the time of the MA launch.