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World Bank harps on nature preservation for economic growth

The World Bank Group President, David Malpass, says preserving nature and maintaining its services are critical for economic growth.

David R. Malpass
David R. Malpass, President of the World Bank Group

Malpass stated this on Friday, July 2, 2021 in a report titled: “The Economic Case for Nature: A Global Earth-Economy Model to Assess Development Policy Pathways”.

He said that nature-smart policies and reforms, including agricultural subsidy reform and investments in agricultural innovation, enhance biodiversity and economic outcomes.

“As countries seek to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that economic development improves outcomes for nature,” he said.

The report pointed out that the Bank estimated that the collapse of select ecosystem services provided by nature could result in a decline in global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion annually by 2030.

The report was undertaken in collaboration with the University of Minnesota and Purdue University.

The report comes as countries are set to formulate a new global biodiversity framework at the Conference of the Parties (COP5) of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China.

It named wild pollination, provision of food from marine fisheries and timber from native forests as some of the select ecosystem services whose collapse could decline global GDP.

Giovanni Ruta, World Bank Lead Environmental Economist and one of the report’s authors, said a combination of policies showed the greatest win-wins for both biodiversity and economies.

She said that adding investment in research and development to the policy mix was particularly important and beneficial to developing countries.

According to the report, sub-Saharan Africa at 9.7 per cent annually and South Asia at 6.5 per cent would suffer the most relative contraction of real GDP due to a collapse of ecosystem services by 2030.

“This is due to a reliance on pollinated crops and in the case of sub-Saharan Africa on forest products, as well as a limited ability to switch to other production and consumption options that would be less affected,” the report read in part.

By Folasade Akpan

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