Finance conservation now or face huge losses, says World Bank

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By Michael Taylor KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The global economy will face annual losses of $ 2.7 trillion by 2030 if ecological tipping points are reached and countries do not invest more in protecting and restoring nature, the World Bank said on Thursday, calling for a greener recovery from COVID-19.

In its first “Economic Case for Nature” report, the bank examined how many economies depend on biodiversity and how they would cope if certain services provided by nature collapsed. He found that sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia would be the most affected. The study identified key “ecosystem services” that it said were close to tipping points, including wild pollinators and the provision of food from marine fisheries and timber from native forests.

“It’s not just about biodiversity – it’s about the economy. Now is the time to act,” report co-author Gianni Ruta, chief economist at the Thomson Reuters Foundation, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by telephone. environment at the World Bank. Better conservation and management of natural areas, such as parks, oceans, forests and wilderness, are seen as essential to protect the natural systems on which humans depend and to meet targets for reducing global warming emissions .

Global annual spending to protect and restore terrestrial nature is set to triple this decade to around $ 350 billion by 2030 and reach $ 536 billion by 2050, according to a UN report in May. But many political leaders have yet to grasp the economic benefits of conservation, relying instead on harnessing natural resources to lift their people out of poverty, environmentalists say.

The World Bank has projected that 51 countries – with a combined population of 1.6 billion people – would experience an overall decline in their gross domestic product (GDP) of 10-20% by the end of this decade if ecosystem services vital collapsed. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia would face an annual GDP contraction of 9.7% and 6.5% respectively, he warned.

Indeed, they depend on pollinated crops and, in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, on forest products. They also have a limited ability to switch to alternatives that will be less affected by climate change, pollution and land degradation, according to the report.

Among the hardest hit are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Pakistan, he added. Ruta said governments should divert agricultural subsidies from items that harm biodiversity, such as fertilizers, diesel for irrigation equipment and incentives to cultivate unsuitable land.

Instead, he urged them to promote sustainable agriculture and reward groups that conserve natural areas on their lands. He also called for a global funding mechanism to help developing countries go green.

A coalition of around 60 countries is currently pushing to protect at least 30% of land and oceans by 2030 (30×30), ahead of the UN biodiversity summit in China, scheduled for October. The World Bank report urged more countries to support the 30×30 proposal, adding that the financial benefits of maintaining ecosystem services would almost completely outweigh the costs of protecting additional land to meet the target.

Governments should also include more green policies in their recovery plans in the event of a pandemic, he added. “Preserving nature and maintaining its services are essential for economic growth,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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