The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Framework (MEA Framework)


The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, (MEA) report by the then Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan in 2000 dubbed, “We the Peoples: The Role of the United Nations in the 21st Century”. This led to the establishment of the ecosystem assessment by three international conventions and MA where MEA was then initiated, (‘Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment’, 2004).

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The main objectives of the MEA were to look into how the ecosystem could be preserved for sustainable development. The MEA was done between 2001 and 2005 in order to ascertain the consequences of the changes in the ecosystem in addition to establishing the scientific methods in which the ecosystem could be managed sustainably for the benefit of humanity.

Strengths of MEA Framework

MEA framework recognizes four main pillars of ecosystem as a source of anaesthetic, provision of food, climate regulation and supporting nutrient recycling and soil formation and this highlights its major strength as advocating for sustainable use of the natural resources. The MEA Framework highlights the major impacts of distortion of the ecosystem as the main cause to changes in the global climatic patterns and the emergence of diseases in the poverty-stricken developing nations, (‘Ecosystems and human well-being: a framework for assessment’, 2004).

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Moreover, the framework gives a comprehensive way in which these problems can be solved. In particular, the framework proposes the need for the governments, non-governmental organizations and other support groups to join forces in preservation of the ecosystem. In realizing that global food and social crisis can only be avoided through sustainable use of natural resources, the framework shows a strong intent.

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Finally, the framework highlights the development patterns and the major changes in the ecosystem due to the activities of human beings. The framework highlights the increase in global carbon dioxide concentration, which is responsible for global warming. In addition, the framework gives a number of changes that are of large magnitude. The report shows that such changes as collapse of fisheries, loss of species and changes in climatic patterns are largely non-linear and irreversible. The report therefore serves to create an awareness for the need to develop scientific action pans in order to manage such effects and possible create methods in which the reversible changes can be reversed. The report provides strong ground in assessing these changes in addition to providing detailed evidence for the changes observed.

Limitations and Biases of MEA Framework

The MEA framework provides a comprehensive way in which environmental sustainability can be achieved. However, the framework has some limitations and biases. Firstly, the framework asserts that human activities that involve exploitation of natural resources is a prerequisite for economic development and that the major destructions took place early during the industrial age. In advocating for a raft of measures for the preservation of environment against degradation, the report serves to limit the developing nations since such countries are undergoing industrial development and will only pay the price for a problem largely attributed to developed countries like USA and UK.

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Finally, the report fails to show the responsibility that the developed nations should shoulder for the part they played in the destruction that occurred to the ecosystem because of their industrial activities. The report merely highlights that majority of the destruction of the ecosystem took place during the transition from the agrarian system to industrial age, but fails to point how such nations could be held responsible. All these are of great disadvantage to the developing world who stand to be limited from achieving same heights the developed nations did when their activities were not restricted by any policy framework.

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