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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid