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Natural resources provide jobs for hundreds of millions of people, and sustains billions more. When managed well, renewable natural resources, watersheds, productive landscapes, and seascapes provide the foundation for sustained inclusive growth, food security, poverty reduction, and human wellbeing.

The triple environmental crises of climate change, nature loss, and pollution are already beginning to reverse decades of development progress in some countries, and slow progress in others. Economic development and growth can no longer happen at the expense of the planet’s natural capital. Addressing the drivers of environmental degradation and the loss of nature is essential to ending poverty on a livable planet. 

A healthy environment is also key to ensure that people can lead healthy and productive lives, and that public and private resources can be invested in advancing development instead of remediating pollution. The world’s ecosystems further 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.

Achieving sustainable growth requires better integrating environment, climate, and development actions, as highlighted in recent global commitments, including the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) approved in December 2022 at COP15. To make this happen, countries need better natural resource management, environmentally friendly fiscal policies, greener financial markets, and effective waste management programs.

In particular, the nature and climate change agendas are complementary and there are synergies to be exploited to foster green, resilient, and inclusive development. The benefits of nature-smart policy increase substantially when the carbon sequestration services of nature are factored in.  

Additional attention is needed to ensure nature becomes an engine for economic and social development. Investing in nature drives economic recovery by creating jobs, targeting the poorest communities, and building long-term resilience.

Last Updated: Sep 15,2023

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