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Fund nature protection now or face huge losses

The global economy faces annual losses of $2.7 trillion by 2030 if ecological tipping points are reached. The countries fail to invest more in protecting and restoring nature said the World Bank. In its “Economic Case for Nature” report, the bank looked at how many economies rely on biodiversity. They also looked into how they would cope if certain nature services collapsed. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia were found to be the worst hit.

Gianni Ruta, lead environmental economist at the World Bank, told that it is not just about biodiversity. It is about the economy and the moment to act is now. Management of natural areas such as parks, oceans, forests and wildernesses and its conservation, are seen as essential for protecting the natural systems. Global annual spending to protect and restore nature on land needs to triple this decade said a U.N. report. Many political leaders have yet to grasp the economic benefits of conservation.

The World Bank projected that 51 countries would experience an overall fall in gross domestic product (GDP) of 10-20% by the end of this decade. And this is if vital ecosystem services collapse. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia would face an annual GDP contraction of 9.7% and 6.5% respectively, because they depend on pollinated crops and forest products. Their ability to switch to alternatives is also limited and that will be less affected by climate change, pollution and land degradation.

Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Bangladesh and Pakistan will be among the hardest hit. Ruta said that the governments should channel agricultural subsidies away from things that harm biodiversity. Instead he urged to promote sustainable farming. He also called for a global funding mechanism. And this is to help developing nations achieve green shifts. Governments should also include more green policies in their pandemic stimulus packages. World Bank Group President David Malpass said that preserving nature and maintaining its services are critical for economic growth.

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