Re­plant­ing man­grove trees in Kam­pung Pasir Pu­tih, Kuching, Sarawak. Man­groves are im­por­tant fish breed­ing grounds and coast­line buf­fers but these ser­vices are not ac­counted for in mon­e­tary value.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - ENVIRONMENT -

min­ing, re­tail­ing, con­struc­tion and en­ergy gen­er­a­tion were up­per­most in the minds of eco­nomic plan­ners and min­is­ters of fi­nance, devel­op­ment and trade. TEEB has brought to the world’s at­ten­tion that na­ture’s goods and ser­vices are equal, if not far more cen­tral, to the wealth of na­tions in­clud­ing the poor ... a fact that will be in­creas­ingly the case on a planet of fi­nite re­sources with a pop­u­la­tion set to rise to nine bil­lion peo­ple by 2050,” said Achim Steiner, UN un­der­sec­re­tary gen­eral and UNEP ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor. The TEEB re­port said the im­pacts of not giv­ing eco­nomic val­ues to ecosys­tems was most widely felt in the de­vel­op­ing world. This could be com­monly seen when forests were logged, with the eco­nomic value placed only on the trees and not the other im­mense ben­e­fits that the ecosys­tem pro­vided. Among the ben­e­fits are that forests act as wa­ter catch­ments, pro­vide habi­tats for valu­able plants and an­i­mals, and store car­bon so that it is not re­leased into the at­mos­phere. Con­tin­u­ing to log forests at cur­rent rates un­til 2050 would lead to nat­u­ral cap­i­tal losses of US$2tril­lion to US$4.5tril­lion (RM6.4tril­lion to RM14.4tril­lion) an­nu­ally, ac­cord­ing to TEEB. With more than half of the hu­man pop­u­la­tion now liv­ing in ur­ban ar­eas, cities have a cru­cial role to play in ac­knowl­edg­ing the nat­u­ral cap­i­tal re­quired to main­tain and im­prove the well-be­ing of their res­i­dents. In­no­va­tive eco­nomic in­stru­ments and poli­cies are emerg­ing that re­ward good prac­tice. For ex­am­ple, the Ja­panese city of Nagoya (host to the UN meet­ing on bio­di­ver­sity), has im­ple­mented a new sys­tem of trade­able devel­op­ment rights whereby de­vel­op­ers wish­ing to ex­ceed ex­ist­ing lim­its on high­rise build­ings can off­set their im­pacts by buy­ing and con­serv­ing ar­eas of Ja­pan’s tra­di­tional agri­cul­tural land­scape. Dis­counts on bank loans for build­ings that re­ceive a higher “star rat­ing” based on a green cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem de­signed by city au­thor­i­ties also cre­ate in­cen­tives for more green space within city projects. The good news is that many com­mu­ni­ties and coun­tries are al­ready see­ing the po­ten­tial of in­cor­po­rat­ing the value of na­ture into de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Sukhdev said that In­dia, Brazil and some other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries had al­ready com­mit­ted to plac­ing val­ues on their nat­u­ral cap­i­tal. Coun­tries such as In­dia have al­ready an­nounced plans for im­ple­ment­ing the eco­nomic val­u­a­tion of their nat­u­ral cap­i­tal as well as the value of na­ture’s ser­vices in de­ci­sion-mak­ing. – AFP/UNEP

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