On 18 November 2011 in Beijing,The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) launched the International Ecosystem Management Partnership (IEMP) , a joint programme for promoting ecosystem management in developing countries, particularly in Africa.
With the health of the earth’s ecosystems increasingly under threat, due to a growing population, high rates of deforestation and transformation into agricultural and pasturelands, the role of ecosystem management has become more important than ever.
IEMP, which is China-based, has a core mandate to synthesize the science of ecosystem management for government decision-makers. This is supported by three inter-related initiatives: Monitoring and Capacity Building, Integrated Knowledge Management, and Science for Policy.
IEMP is UNEP’s first South-South cooperation programme and is a means of promoting effective development by sharing best practices and technology among developing countries. The launch also steps up the efforts of UNEP and China for mainstreaming Ecosystem Management among global policy makers.
The scope of IEMP’s work covers both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and its clients include national governments, intergovernmental bodies and programmes, as well as development agencies and the science community.
In his address, Mr. Zukang Sha, UN Under Secretary General in charge of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary General of Rio+20, emphasized the critical role of ecosystems and the challenges of ecosystem degradation, in the context of population growth and increasing inequity. “Ecosystems are the foundation of human lives and livelihoods. The future of human civilization and sustainable development depends on sound, healthy and resilient ecosystems. For too long, humanity has ignored this fundamental truth at its own peril,” he said.
UN Under Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was at the launch together with Mr. Zhongli Ding, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Mr. Ganjie Li, Vice Minister of Environment Protection, Chinese ministerial-level leaders, heads of UN and other international organizations and renowned scientists.
Mr. Steiner reaffirmed the commitment of UNEP to mainstream Ecosystem Management, particularly in the context of the Green Economy in developing countries. He pointed out that this joint partnership offers an important opportunity to strengthen the extensive body of research on ecosystems and the Green Economy in the context of South-South cooperation.
Mr. DING Zhongli, vice president of CAS, emphasized that IEMP should function as a bridge for South-South co-operation in the area of ecosystem management and develop capacity in developing countries.
Mr. LI Ganjie of China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection lauded UNEP’s efforts to promote a Green Economy globally and wished IEMP the very best in its ambitious programmes to reach out to the developing world.
IEMP is also supported by other Chinese Government institutions, the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
IEMP is currently undertaking a comprehensive assessment of global ecosystem monitoring and research capacity. It will also start an assessment of Ecosystem Management in Africa and of the best ways to increase the capacity for ecosystem research and management in Africa.
In addition, the IEMP is designing a database to share methods, tools and knowledge of Ecosystem Management in developing countries for decision making. The database will support key regional assessments of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). IEMP has begun synthesizing cutting-edge science to support policy setting by drafting a number of policy papers and organizing high-level policy fora.
Dr. Jian Liu, Director of IEMP, stressed that sustainable management of ecosystems and biodiversity is a critical path leading to the next generation of civilization --the ecological civilization -- and constitutes an integral part of the fourth industrialization, the development of the Green Economy.
In its objective of mainstreaming Ecosystem Management, IEMP served as the Secretariat for the High Level International Forum on Ecosystem Management and the Green Economy held on 18 November in Beijing. The goal of the Forum was to contribute to the success of Rio+20, by promoting the central role of Ecosystem Management in a Green Economy.
The IEMP office is based in the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research (IGSNRR) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.