The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) is a major project initiated by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2001 and completed in March, 2005. The project leveraged the contributions of 1360 experts from 95 countries, an 80-person independent board of review editors, and review comments from 850 experts and governments. The results are being published in more than a dozen reports listed on the MEA web site.
The results have also been summarized in a long PowerPoint presentation which can be downloaded from this page. Although over 6 megabytes, the larger of the three is well worth the effort. This presentation summarizes the project, findings, implications, and high level recommendations and should be required reading for anyone interested in the topic.
The project included a Scenarios Working Group whose contribution is summarized beginning on slide 55 of the long presentation. [Clicking on the thumbnail will produce a larger image]
Consistent with the view of scenarios advocated here, the MA scenarios are plausible future outcomes. The MEA scenarios will be more fully reported in one of several documents to be published this September.
Here are brief summaries of the four MEA scenarios:
Global Orchestration. Globally connected society that focuses on global trade and economic liberalization and takes a reactive approach to ecosystem problems but that also takes strong steps to reduce poverty and inequality and to invest in public goods such as infrastructure and education.
Order from Strength. Regionalized and fragmented world, concerned with security and protection, emphasizing primarily regional markets, paying little attention to public goods, and taking a reactive approach to ecosystem problems.
Adapting Mosaic. Regional watershed-scale ecosystems are the focus of political and economic activity. Local institutions are strengthened and local ecosystem management strategies are common; societies develop a strongly proactive approach to the management of ecosystems.
TechnoGarden. Globally connected world relying strongly on environmentally sound technology, using highly managed, often engineered, ecosystems to deliver ecosystem services, and taking a proactive approach to the management of ecosystems in an effort to avoid problems.