CICES Version 5.1 now available


CICES V5.1 which updates and extends V4.3 is now available. The new version and the associated technical guidance can be downloaded here.

See revision highlights for an overview of the changes


The Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES) developed from the work on environmental accounting undertaken by the European Environment Agency (EEA). It supports their contribution to the revision of the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) which is currently being led by the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD).

The idea of a common international classification is an important one, because it was recognised that if ecosystem accounting methods were to be developed and comparisons made, then some standardisation in the way we describe ecosystem services was needed. Standardisation was seen as especially important where the link to economic accounting has to be made. Since the original proposal interest in CICES has grown. It has now become clear that in addition to the need for standardization in the context of environmental accounting, work on mapping and valuing ecosystem services and ecosystems assessments more generally would benefit from more systematic approaches to naming and describing ecosystem services.

The first fully operational version CICES (V4.3) was published in 2013. On the basis of the experience gained since then by the user community, its structure and scope has been reviewed, and a fully revised version (V5.1) is now available.

The work on ‘Version 5.1’ was informed by a review of the relevant scientific literature, the results of the 2016 Survey conducted by Fabis Consulting Ltd. for the EEA, and workshops held in 2016 as part of the EU-funded ESMERALDA and OpenNESS Projects. Key inputs were also provided from the experience of using CICES gained in the EU-led work on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services (MAES).

The revision has also been shaped by discussion at a meeting hosted by the United Nations Statistical Division (UNSD), in New York, in June 2016 as part of their work on developing the System of Environmental Economic Accounting (SEEA). This work with the UNSD led to a further meeting in Wageningen, in November 2016, co-organised between the EEA, US-EPA and UNSD. The resulting final draft for CICES ‘Version 5’ was circulated to members of the EU KIP INCA project, and international experts attending the:

As a result of this extensive period of consultation and peer review CICES V5.1 is now available.

Guidance on the new version is available on this website. The revision has ensured that new version is consistent with but extends CICES V4.3. The two versions are fully cross referenced and consistent with SEEA Principles.


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