With growing realization among governments and the private sector that we must invest more in nature, how can the international community help make this happen?
This was the focus of an event held today at the IUCN Conservation Centre, near Geneva, where members of The Diplomatic Club of Geneva met with environmental leaders to debate the way ahead.
The meeting was designed to expose a fresh audience to the issues around conservation. Ashok Khosla, IUCN’s President, underlined this when he spoke at the event:
Nature is the life‐support system that allows people, our communities and our economies to survive and thrive on this planet. Yet despite our growing realization of the need to protect nature, we are losing natural assets faster than ever before.
Thanks to the groundbreaking study TEEB—The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, we now know that we are losing natural capital worth up to US$ 4.5 trillion every year, mainly through deforestation. But while these losses dwarf the costs of the recent economic and financial crisis, there are no rescue packages being proposed for nature. Does nature need a bailout? And is the world ready for it? Where do we need to invest most urgently to rebuild our natural capital?
Taking nature into consideration is important, according to another one of the evening’s speakers Ivan Pictet, President of the Fondation pour Genève and the Pictet Foundation for Development:
Many countries are talking about, and implementing, “green growth” strategies. How green are these in reality? Are the objectives of economic growth and industrial development on the one hand, and environmental protection and restoration on the other, mutually compatible? What are the trade‐offs between the two?
Furthermore, what information or knowledge is missing for the world to move forward with increasing investment in natural capital? What should academia and science be researching?
Discussions were opened with presentations from panelists including Ambassador Betty King, Permanent Representative of the USA to the United Nations organizations in Geneva, Ambassador He Yafei, Permanent Representative of China to the UN organizations in Geneva and Ivan Pictet, President of the Fondation pour Genève.
Betty King is the US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva. She explained what are the most important issues we have to overcome if we are to create an environment where we can “invest in nature”.
Stephan Schmidheiny, founder of the AVINA Foundation who also spoke at the event, emphasized the importance of responsible consumer behaviour in our fight to save what's left of our planet's natural resources:
What will the great and the good who gathered for this event take away with them?
André Hoffmann, chairman of the MAVA Foundation, hopes to see more emphasis on the fact that economic development can go hand in hand with conservation:
IUCN President Ashok Khosla believes we are building up our human capital ready to effect real change.
For more information contact:
Giuditta Andreaus, IUCN Strategic Partnerships e. firstname.lastname@example.org