Boost investments in nature to combat climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises

The United Nations

Annual investments in nature-based solutions will have to triple by 2030, and increase four-fold by 2050, if the world is to successfully tackle the triple threat of climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises, according to a new UN-backed study published on Thursday.

The State of Finance for Nature report calls for scaling up funding from the current level of $133 billion, most of which comes from public sources, to a total investment of $8.1 trillion, by 2050.

Save nature now

Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said biodiversity loss is already costing the global economy 10 percent of its output each year.

“If we do not sufficiently finance nature-based solutions, we will impact the capacities of countries to make progress on other vital areas such as education, health and employment”, she added. “If we do not save nature now, we will not be able to achieve sustainable development.”

The UN agency has produced the report alongside the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Economics of Land Degradation (ELD) Initiative, hosted by German development agency GIZ in collaboration with Vivid Economics.

To overcome the gap, the partners call for Governments, financial institutions and businesses to put nature at the centre of economic decision-making going forward.

This requires building back more sustainably from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as other measures, such as repurposing agricultural and fossil fuel subsidies and creating other economic and regulatory incentives.

Private capital critical

Although investing in nature supports the health of all beings, improves quality of life, and creates jobs, it accounts for just 2.5 per cent of projected economic stimulus spending in the wake of the pandemic. Therefore, private capital will have to be increased to close the investment gap.

Solutions such as the management, conservation and restoration of forests, will alone require some $203 billion in total annual expenditure globally. The report suggests coupling investments in restoration with financing for conservation, as an example.

The private sector has already developed several initiatives, but the authors stressed the need for companies and institutions to commit to boost finance and investment, in nature-based solutions.

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