This article was originally published on Public Finance International


“When world leaders gather this weekend in Osaka for the G20 Summit, attention will turn once more to the challenge of realising sustainable and inclusive economic growth that includes progress toward poverty reduction, human health, and women’s empowerment.

Hot topics for discussion include encouraging business-led innovation to combat climate change, promoting ‘quality infrastructure’ investment, and strengthening financial resilience in the face of natural disasters.

The rising incidence of extreme weather already costs more than $300bn per year, and to mitigate associated financial risks, G20 finance ministers recently recognised the importance of better integrating environmental and social considerations into infrastructure development.

The most cost-effective and environmentally sound way to deliver resilience and prosperity is to radically increase investment in nature-based solutions. This would help achieve emissions reduction targets under the Paris Agreement, and deliver Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, life below water, and life on land.

In meeting such enormous challenges, nature is our strongest ally.

Natural capital in jeopardy

There is mounting evidence that nature is in decline as never before, growing recognition that environmental risks pose the gravest threat to the global economy, and a dire warning that the longer we wait to avert the climate catastrophe the more costly it will be. And yet we are still not acting to address these interrelated crises.

The way we currently feed, fuel, and finance ourselves is pushing nature to the brink. Last month’s Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was a clarion call that Earth’s natural systems are operating in the red.

Nature is worth an estimated $125 trillion to the global economy every year. We need to invest in rather than use up the natural capital that sustains us, doing all we can to deliver well-being and prosperity by sustaining our planet’s precious natural systems.

It is still scientifically and technically possible to restore nature, deliver the SDGs, and avert dangerous climate change – but that world is only possible if people and nature thrive together...”

Read on at: Public Finance International.