Environment must count at Davos

28 January 2009 | News story

As the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, IUCN urges governments and businesses to reconsider their relationship with nature.

While negotiations in Davos focus on the world’s economic crisis, IUCN encourages decision makers to use the opportunity to make the transition to a greener, more sustainable economy.

“The recent financial losses are a tragedy, but let’s not forget that nature is losing out too,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “One recent study, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, estimates annual losses of natural capital at two to three times the value of recent stock market declines. We need to address the real and lasting damage that’s being done to the environment.”

One of the themes on the agenda in Davos is energy security. IUCN’s background paper, Energy, ecosystems and livelihoods: Understanding linkages in the face of climate change impacts, highlights the fact that a well-managed environment will maximize energy security.

“Energy is a fundamental part of our lives,” says Andrea Athanas, of IUCN’s Energy, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Initiative. “It is needed for heating, cooking, cooling and lighting in our homes. Most energy sources are dependent on the services nature provides for free, such as rivers used to power turbines to generate electricity.”

The paper argues that to sustainably increase future energy supplies, natural resources need to be well-managed and enhanced.