Nature loss threatens global economy: report

The ongoing loss of natural spaces, including forests, has become a systemic risk for the global economy, warns a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and several partners.

Over the past decade, 26 per cent of global tree cover loss was caused by the production of just seven agricultural commodities – cattle, oil palm, soy, cocoa, rubber, coffee and wood fibre – said the State of Financing for Nature report. Barring major changes, the toll on forests and other wild spaces will continue to mount, ultimately imperiling industries that rely on natural resources. The authors of the report urged governments, financial institutions and businesses to place nature at the heart of future economic growth by tripling the financing available for environmentally friendly projects by 2030.

The report’s launch comes on the eve of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a global effort to revive natural spaces lost to development. Forests have been hit especially hard by human activity. Every year, the world loses 10 million hectares of tree cover, an area the size of the Republic of Korea. Forests provide drinking water to one-third of the world’s largest cities and support more than 65 per cent of amphibian, bird, and mammal species.

The State of Finance for Nature report was produced by UNEP, the World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation Initiative in collaboration with Vivid Economics. It showcases the investment opportunities that nature can offer and emphasizes its importance to the global economy. By demonstrating the value of nature, the report authors say they hope to show countries it is possible to safeguard the planet while spurring economic growth and sustainable development. The report said that reviewing public subsidies, factoring the costs of ecosystem degradation into products or services and integrating the value of nature into credit risk analysis could lead to greener economies. Read more…

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