Economics is a decision science or a study of tradeoffs. Manyof the world’s resource management decisions are made in a market environment. Individuals, families, associations, companies, communities and countries can engage in market-like exchanges. When markets reflect fully the social benefits and costs of the exchange, resource management is efficient. However, when markets and economic policies fail to adequately capture the values of biodiversity, many costs and opportunities for benefiting from nature are missed and resources are wasted. Recognising human reliance on nature and the natural wealth tradeoffs implied by decisions, or ‘getting the prices right,’ is an essential step toward better measurement and better management of the world’s scarce resources.
IUCN’s Global Economics Programme aims to help people capture the economic opportunities provided by biodiversity. Traditionally, environmental economics works to estimate the costs, or footprint, of economic activities and then to design policies to reduce the footprint caused by incomplete or misleading market incentives. Increasingly, environmental economic arguments in favour of conservation consist of identifying opportunities and guiding incentives such that pro-biodiversity behaviour is economically attractive. IUCN Economics aims to build a bridge between environment and development through nature-based solutions to local and global development challenges. By increasing our knowledge of the economic value of ecosystems and ensuring that this information is appropriately guiding related policy processes, IUCN is well placed to solidly anchor nature at the heart of a green global economy.