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

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More