UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said doubling investments in nature protection could provide a long-term cure to a host of crises facing the planet including climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification.
The second edition of the State of Finance for Nature Report launched in Nairobi on Thursday, November 1, 2022, said investments in habitats’ conservation must increase from the current $154 billion to $384 billion annually by 2025.
UNEP said this was in order to secure a green, resilient and prosperous future for humanity.
Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, said that scientific consensus was categorical that countries must scale up financing to preserve the health of the natural world, tame the climate crisis and avert the looming extinction of species.
“We must collectively and urgently redirect and scale up capital to nature, climate and restorative-positive activities that bring us back on track towards a stable and nature-abundant planet that we can all equitably benefit from,” said Anderson.
The UNEP report notes that nature-positive investments remained below target, only to worsen poverty, water stress, hunger, disease and climate emergencies.
The report said the investments required to halt biodiversity loss, and land degradation and shield vulnerable communities from the climate crisis should increase by 230 billion dollars annually by 2025.
According to the report, governments currently provide 83 per cent of financing towards nature protection while the private sector investments towards habitat protection currently stood at $26 billion annually, an equivalent of 17 per cent.
The report said that enacting nature-positive regulatory and policy frameworks alone could attract more than $10 trillion in new annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.
“If we rapidly double finance flows to nature-based solutions, we can halt biodiversity loss, significantly contribute to reducing carbon emissions and restore close to one billion hectares of degraded land’ the report said.
The report urges governments to mobilise green financing from the private sector, integrate low-carbon transition into national development programmes, reform supply chains and promote nature-positive consumption habits among the citizenry in order to restore the health of natural assets.