The multiple values of ecosystem services are often ignored when making decisions concerning natural resources. The situational analysis aims to assess the status, trends and drivers of change in ecosystem services associated with marine and coastal systems, and quantify how they support the livelihoods and well-being of human societies and particularly the rural and urban poor in developing countries, and the threats, opportunities and constraints to them. It will identify the key challenges for research, current gaps in knowledge and capacity in order to inform the development of a research strategy to support the maintenance of ecosystem services explicitly for poverty alleviation.
This global knowledge assessment aims to identify existing scientific literature and global and regional databases in order to identify key 'hot spots' where reliance of the poor on ecosystem services is high, and where the impacts on those ecosystem services has been (or will be) severe. The global assessment will ensure that issues not covered in the regional analyses are not overlooked. The analysis aims to provide a focused assessment of existing knowledge about the current state and trends in marine and coastal ecosystems and the resultant ecosystem services.
Geographic foci for this research were identified using a vulnerability analysis framework, using key data sources providing country-by-country information on marine and coastal ecosystem services. This analysis identified a number of regions within which countries showed high vulnerability to potential changes in marine and coastal ecosystem services: South Asia, SE Asia, and the Western Indian Ocean.