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World Bank report on the Economic Case for Nature

August 5, 2021
News item image The report highlight how economies are embedded in nature and dependent on the flow of goods and services it generates.

A new Economic Case for Nature report has been released by the World Bank, presenting a ‘Global Earth-Economy Model to Assess Development Policy Pathways’. The first of its kind, the global integrated ecosystem-economy modelling exercise assesses economic policy responses to the global biodiversity crisis.

The report highlights the reliance of economies on nature, with the collapse of key ecosystem services provided by nature such as wild pollination, marine fisheries and native forest timber causing a decline in global GDP of $2.7 trillion annually by 2030. The cost will be particularly weighted towards low-income countries where there is a dependence on pollinated and forest crops. Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia would suffer the most relative contraction of real GDP in the event of ecosystem services loss by 2030, with respective decreases of 9.7 percent and 6.5 percent annually.

To avert such outcomes, the report points to a range and combination of policy scenarios available to reduce such impact of nature’s loss on economies. This modeling framework presented is an important stepping stone towards ‘nature-smart’ decision-making, and is intended to support policymakers who face complex trade-offs involving the management of natural capital. With nature-supporting policy, it is possible to achieve growth that is resilient and inclusive for both economies and nature.

By capitalising on momentum for change from the 2021 COP26 summit and the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, economic, financial, and private stakeholders can be mobilised to take decisive action. Domestic and internationally coordinated policy action on both climate and biodiversity can then make global conservation targets even more achievable.

The report is part of a series of papers laying out the economic rationale for investing in nature and recognizes how economies rely on nature for services that are largely under-priced.

Read more in the full Economic Case for Nature report or in digested form in the Key Findings document and World Bank Press Release.