10th December, 2023
Close to $7 trillion is invested globally each year in activities that have direct negative impact on nature from both public and private sector sources, according to a latest report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The report, released on Saturday at the ongoing climate change conference known as (COP28) in Dubai, nature-based solutions remained dramatically underfunded.
According to the document, current public and private finance flows into nature-based solutions are only US$200 billion per year, saying realignment of public and private nature-negative finance flows is urgently needed.
To meet climate, biodiversity, and restoration targets, the study said there was a need to triple the current finance flows into nature-based solutions to the climate crisis by 2030 and quadruple by 2050.
“Nature-based solutions are dramatically underfunded. Annual nature-negative investments are over 30 times larger than financing for nature-based solutions that promote a stable climate, and healthy land and nature.
“To have any chance of meeting the sustainable development goals, these numbers must be flipped – with true custodians of the land, such as Indigenous Peoples, among the chief beneficiaries,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP”.
These findings are based on an analysis of global financial flows, revealing that private nature-negative finance flows amount to US$5 trillion annually, 140 times larger than the US$35 billion of private investments in nature-based solutions.
The five industries channelling most of the negative financial flows include construction, electric utilities, real estate, oil and gas, and food and tobacco.
Reacting, Niki Mardas, Executive Director of Global Canopy said, “This year’s report is a stark reminder that continuing with “business as usual” poses a severe threat to our planet, reinforcing the urgent need for a transition to sustainable business practices and to stop the financing of nature destruction.
“The net is tightening, with increased regulatory pressure in key areas like tackling deforestation.
“It means that those companies and financial institutions still driving the problem now need to make best use of the excellent data, guidance and frameworks already available to urgently commit to a nature-positive future.”
The report noted government spending on environmentally harmful subsidies in four sectors: agriculture, fossil fuels, fishery and forestry, which was estimated at US$1.7 trillion in 2022.