This report to the GEF Assembly, was presented by Yolanda Kakabadse, STAP Chair, on 29 August 2006 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The last four years have seen important advances in our scientific understanding of environmental issues, as well as in technologies that are directly relevant for the work of GEF. There are increasing concerns that serious impacts of climate change could be more severe, and some more abrupt than was assessed by IPCC TAR in 2001, particularly in the cases of polar and high-altitude regions. The recently completed Millennium Ecosystem Assessment assessed the status and trends of ecosystems and the services they provide, and found clear tradeoffs between provisioning services like food and other types of ecosystem services. There is also growing evidence that invasive species are having major impacts on island and freshwater ecosystems, a problem that is growing more acute with increasing global trade.