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The IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology recommended as an International Statistical Classification

08 / Nov / 2023Global Ecosystem Typology

The IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology recommended as an International Statistical Classification

The UN Committee of Experts on International Statistical Classifications formally recommended IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology as a global standard.


The IUCN Global Ecosystem Typology (GET) was formally recommended for adoption into the international Family of Statistical Classifications in a significant decision by the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Statistical Classifications' during its meeting held in New York from October 24-27.

As the central coordination body responsible for international statistical classifications under the purview of the UN Statistics Division, the UNCEISC convenes meetings to discuss and make decisions regarding the adoption and revision of international statistical classifications. Classifications must meet strict criteria before they qualify for adoption. These meetings serve as platforms for experts to exchange knowledge, evaluate new classifications against the criteria, and ensure the harmonization and comparability of statistical information.

In this opportunity, UNCEISC convened to discuss the adoption of the GET as a global standard. During the session, David Keith, lead of the Red List of Ecosystems (RLE) thematic group and chair of the RLE committee for scientific standards, delivered a comprehensive and exceptional presentation on the GET. Juha Siikamaki and Marcos Vanderrabano from IUCN secretariat supported the committee with essential background in the lead up to the recommendation decision.

Andrew Hancock, the committee chair of UNCEISC, commended Prof. Keith's presentation and emphasized the key decision criteria for statistical classifications. He highlighted the numerous strengths of the GET, including its solid scientific foundation, comprehensive scope, wide range of current applications (including the statistical framework SEEA Ecosystem Accounting), clearly defined statistical units, hierarchical classification, conceptual mutual exclusiveness, relationships and crosswalks to related frameworks, clear custodianship, and robust maintenance and implementation plan.

With unanimous agreement, the Committee officially recommended the GET for adoption as an international statistical classification. The recommendation will now go forward early next year to the United Nations Statistical Commission to decide on formal adoption. This momentous decision marks another significant milestone in firmly establishing the GET as the primary global typology for ecosystems. It formalises a system for international reporting on nature, joining analogous frameworks that countries use to report on their economic indicators, populations, industries, employment markets and other assets.

The widespread recognition and adoption of the GET will greatly enhance our collective understanding and management of ecosystems on a global scale. This standardized classification system will provide invaluable insights and contribute to informed decision-making in environmental conservation and policy formulation.


Written by: Emy Miyazawa




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