The sustainable management of the environment and natural resources is vital for economic growth and human wellbeing. When managed well, renewable natural resources, watersheds, productive landscapes and seascapes can provide the foundation for sustained inclusive growth, food security and poverty reduction. Natural resources provide livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people and generate sizeable tax revenue. The world’s ecosystems regulate the air, water and soil on which we all depend, and form a unique and cost-effective buffer against extreme weather events and climate change.
Healthy ecosystems are essential for the long-term growth of economic sectors such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism, and already provide hundreds of millions of jobs. A third of the world’s 100 largest cities draw their water supply from protected areas. Three quarters of the world’s top 115 food crops depend on animal pollination. In developing countries, forests, lakes, rivers and oceans provide a significant share of households’ diets, fuel and incomes and represent a precious safety net in times of crisis, particularly for 78% of the world’s extreme poor who live in rural areas.
The integrity and functionality of these vital natural assets, however, are increasingly compromised. 60 to 70% of the world’s ecosystems are degrading faster than they can recover. Mismanagement of the environment and natural resources results in significant economic losses: for instance, an estimated $80 billion are squandered each year due to ocean fisheries mismanagement. Air pollution is now the fourth leading risk factor for premature death, contributing to 1 in 10 of all deaths worldwide and resulting in significant losses of welfare and income.
Last Updated: Apr 18,2017