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The First International Research Symposium on Valuation of Forest Ecosystems and their Services was held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on 18 October 2016. This research symposium was organized by the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment with the support of the Sri Lanka UN-REDD Programme.

The main objective of the symposium was to bring the latest developments in valuing ecosystems and their services to the forefront in Sri Lanka, using the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB, 2010) methodology. The three focus areas of TEEB that deal with recognizing, demonstrating and capturing the value of ecosystems and their services were explored by twelve selected national and international researchers who presented their findings on how forest ecosystems can be valued using economic indicators.

Sri Lanka Rathnaellafalls 768x1024 Participants attended at the Research Symposium to share experiences and discuss issues on valuation of forest ecosystems 1024x683  Guest speakers at the Research Symposium to discuss issues on valuation of forest ecosystems and their services 1024x626 Rathnaellafalls in Sri Lanka 1024x681 


While these presentations revealed the contribution of such ecosystems and their services to the mainstream economy of a nation, three international specialists delivered keynote addresses on recognizing, demonstrating and capturing the value of ecosystems and their services, and joined a panel discussion at the end of the event.  One of the outcomes of the event, a set of recommendations indicating specific actions to be taken in line with the findings of the research symposium, is expected to be presented to the Government of Sri Lanka.

400 enthusiastic academic researchers, economists, scientists, ecologists, environmentalists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and representatives of civil-society agencies, bi-lateral agencies, private sector entities, and media, and other interested persons participated in this one-day symposium to gain a clearer understanding of how to value ecosystems using economic tools in order to conserve, sustain and increase forests in Sri Lanka. A special feature of the symposium was the participation of 152 participants who registered via social media promotions.

The UN-REDD Programme is setting the stage in Sri Lanka for great advances in forest ecosystem management by assisting the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment to put a mechanism in place that considers the impact that government policy decisions may have on forest ecosystems.  The Secretary of the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment has indicated an interest in holding this symposium annually to ensure that Sri Lanka moves forward with a long-term approach to valuing its forests while addressing the issue of deforestation and forest degradation at the policy level.

The presentations, images of the event and more information at the symposium can be found here.
To learn more about the UN-REDD Programme’s work in Sri Lanka, visit the country page here or the National REDD+ website here.

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