Ecosystem services can be defined broadly as the functions of ecosystems that provide benefits to human well-being and arise from the interaction of biotic and abiotic processes.
A Common International Classification for Ecosystem Services (CICES) is needed in order to integrate and compare across potential data sources for ecosystem service flows. A joint initiative on this topic by EEA, UNEP and UNSD resulted in 2 international workshops (Copenahagen, 2008 and 2009) and an electronic forum in 2009. CICES was developed on the basis of consistency with accepted typologies currently in use and compatibility with SEEA. CICES was presented for information to the UNCEEA meeting of June 2010. In the document, CICES is cross-tabulated with other international classifications, in particular the Central Products Classification (CPC V2), and the Classification of Individual Consumption by Purpose (COICOP).
Since these discussions, work has continued on ecosystem services and led to some developments. There is a proposal for a different type of classification for marine ecosystems by Anne Boehnke-Henrichs, Dolf deGroot and Salman Hussain for the purpose of economic value calculation. Other developments are taking place under the MA update process and ES applications (InVest, ARIES…). These works have to be reviewed and, where relevant cross-referenced, as part of finalization of CICES.