News / Africa

    UN Says 'Save The Environment, Save Money'

    UN Says 'Save The Environment, Save Money'
    UN Says 'Save The Environment, Save Money'
    Mike Sunderland

    Investing in environmental initiatives can have major economic benefits and aid development in poorer countries according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program.  The report, released Thursday in Nairobi, Kenya, says restoring damaged eco-systems can trigger multimillion dollar returns, generate jobs and combat poverty.

    The U.N. report says eco-systems are the natural infrastructure upon which we all depend. Their crucial services range from food and medicines, to regulating water and protecting against extreme weather.

    Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, UNEP Deputy Director Tim Kasten said governments have been overlooking the financial benefits they can also offer.

    "The value of these services goes beyond what we consider to be real economic value," he said. "Nonetheless, we do need to take into account the economic value and speak the language that decision makers often speak, which is the language of economy."

    With around two-thirds of the world's eco-systems damaged, the report says it is not enough to simply protect those that remain. The U.N. is calling on world leaders to invest in restoration projects to re-establish as many of these natural functions as possible.

    The report highlights restoring water flows to rivers and lakes, improving the condition of soil for agriculture and fighting climate change as three ways to enhance natural capital.

    However, the cost of large-scale projects has occasionally caused governments, particularly in developing countries, to shy away from restoration. But UNEP says improving eco-systems will in fact be beneficial to national economies in the long term.

    Kasten highlights natural wetlands, of which half have been destroyed worldwide, as having an economic value of $7 trillion per year. Natural wastewater treatment systems, he says, are more than 20 times more cost effective than man-made alternatives.

    "All together, these services [ecological infrastructure services to humanity]  are providing up to $70 trillion per year, it is in fact a very significant contribution," he said.

    UNEP spokesperson Nick Nuttall says environmental assets are virtually invisible in national and international accounts. The value of these natural resources, he says, should figure in every government's economic and planning decisions.

    "Unless you can give them the full suite of choices, in terms of why to build a road and not build a road or build port or not build a port, until you can factor biodiversity and the eco-system's natural assets into the economics, UNEP's position is that we're always going to struggle," he said.

    UNEP points out that repairing environmental damage will generate jobs and fight poverty in a world where 1.3 billion people are either unemployed or not earning enough to get by. Healthy eco-systems, the report says, are not an added benefit to economic security, but rather a fundamental requirement.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora