All natural ecosystems yield economically valuable services, e.g. production of food and medicines, regulation of climate, provision of productive soils and clean water, opportunities for recreation, maintenance of cultural heritage, etc. Ecosystem degradation undermines the provision of vital goods and services, with considerable economic and social consequences. Harmful effects tend to be borne disproportionately by the poor, who are less able to access or afford alternatives when ecosystem services are lost. In order to influence policy, and conserve important resources, people must know how to put a value on the services ecosystems provide, and communicate those results effectively.
To build these critical skills, CSF and GIZ have partnered to develop curriculum for a series of trainings on Ecosystem Service Valuation. In Namibia in 2015, the four-day training aimed to establish a basic understanding of economic valuation methods and the underlying microeconomic principles, and impart knowledge about how to apply Ecosystem Service Valuation in order to create arguments relevant to the ongoing political discourse.
Through a combination of lectures, exercises, presentations, and other interactive activities, participants gained a thorough understanding of natural resource economics, the ecosystem services approach, and environmental valuation. Guests also presented on current biodiversity data, and the recently released Ecosystem Services Inventory in Namibia.