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CGD hosted Robert Watson, Chief Scientist & Director, Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development Network, The World Bank, for a seminar entitled "Environmental Degradation and Global Development: Findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment." The event was moderated by Stewart Patrick, Research Fellow, Center for Global Development.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment synthesis report, released this spring, has disturbing implications for global poverty alleviation. The product of 1,360 scientists working in 95 countries, it reveals that 60 percent of the ecosystem services that support life on Earth are either degraded or being used in an unsustainable manner. Beyond threatening a massive loss of biodiversity, current patterns of uncontrolled logging, over-fishing, water pollution, destruction of coral reefs, unsustainable land management and the like will block progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Reversing current trends will require treating natural assets differently at all levels of governance and forming new partnerships among governments, business, and civil society.