Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Current State and Trends, Volume 1

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment was carried out between 2001 and 2005 to assess the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and to establish the scientific basis for actions needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of ecosystems and their contributions to human well-being. The MA responds to government requests for information received through four international conventions—the Convention on Biological Diversity, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and the Convention on Migratory Species—and is designed to also meet needs of other stakeholders, including the business community, the health sector, nongovernmental organizations, and indigenous peoples. The sub-global assessments also aimed to meet the needs of users in the regions where they were undertaken.

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment synthesizes information from the scientific literature and relevant peer-reviewed datasets and models. It incorporates knowledge held by the private sector, practitioners, local communities, and indigenous peoples. The MA did not aim to generate new primary knowledge but instead sought to add value to existing information by collating, evaluating, summarizing, interpreting, and communicating it in a useful form. Assessments like this one apply the judgment of experts to existing knowledge to provide scientifically credible answers to policy-relevant questions. The focus on policy-relevant questions and the explicit use of expert judgment distinguish this type of assessment from a scientific review.

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