Financing Nature Conservation as a Response to COVID-19
Our reliance on nature is well known and widely acknowledged. The World Economic Forum recently noted that half of the world’s GDP is highly or moderately dependent on nature and for every dollar spent on nature restoration, at least $9 of economic benefits can be expected. These benefits can be harvested if the nature human nexus is healthy and balanced. Any dysfunctional relationship between human and nature, like climate change, loss of biodiversity, fragmentation of habitat, domestication of wild and illegal trade of wildlife, can result into serious implications for us as evident from the pandemic of COVID19.
India's Rs 20 lakh crore COVID-19 relief package, one of the largest in the world, amounting roughly to 10 per cent of country’s GDP, needs to be implemented for creating jobs and growth by keeping nature in the centre. Since the pandemic came from the disturbance of nature, its treatment also lies in nature rebuilding & investing in natural capital. In this regard the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the World Resources Institute, India and National Biodiversity Authority (NBA), Government of India are organizing a webinar to seek answers for the following questions:
- How to bring nature and biodiversity in the relief package?
- Is nature based solution going to be a potential option?
- What can we learn from the mistakes of the past especially on climate change?
- What sectors can be the priority in building back better?
- How can India demonstrate that bringing nature to the centre of the economy is possible?.
- What role business and industry can play in this?
- Pushpam Kumar, Chief Environmental Economist and Senior Economic Advisor, United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi, Kenya
- Vinod Bihari Mathur, Chairman, National Biodiversity Authority, Chennai, India
- Helen Mountford, Vice President for Climate and Economics at World Resources Institute, Washington DC, USA
- Ajay Narayan Jha, Member, 15th Finance Commission of India, Former Expenditure Secretary, Secretary, MoEFCC & Finance Secretary, Govt of India, New Delhi, India
- Juha Siikamäki, Chief Economist, IUCN, Washington, DC, USA
- Andrew Harper, Special Advisor on Climate Action to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Geneva, Switzerland.
Moderator Madhu Verma, Chief Economist, WRI, New Delhi, India