$8trn funding gap: UN report calls for four-fold increase in nature-based solutions investment

The world is facing an $8.1trn financing gap into nature to help combat the climate crisis and ecological breakdown, according to a new UN report that warns that annual investments into nature-based solutions (NbS) need to increase fourfold by 2050.

$8trn funding gap: UN report calls for four-fold increase in nature-based solutions investment

The report estimates that annual investments into NbS will need to reach $536bn annually by 2050

The Stat of Finance for Nature report from the UN Environment Programme highlights the massive financial gap facing Nature-based solutions, which can assist in combatting climate change if sufficiently supported.

The report found that current investment into NbS sits at $133bn – 0.10% of global GDP – the most of which comes from public sources. However, up to $4.1trn is required by 2030, which rises to $8.1trn 2050, a four-fold increase.

Up to $203bn annually is required for forest-based solutions, with peatland and mangrove restoration also highlighted as critical NbS requiring solutions. Marine environment solutions such as seagrass meadows were not covered by the report but will be included in future editions.

The report also estimates that annual investments into NbS will need to reach $536bn annually by 2050.

Currently, more than half of the world’s total GDP is either “moderately or highly dependent on nature”, the report notes. Sectors such as agriculture, food and drink and construction are all reliant on nature and generate $8trn in gross added value. However, the report adds that nature only accounts for 2.5% of projected economic stimulus spending following Covid-19.

Inger Andersen, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme and Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum state in the foreword: “No one can be in any doubt that we are in a planetary emergency. The interrelated crises of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change — driven by unsustainable production and consumption — require urgent and immediate global action.

“The findings are clear: we are not investing nearly enough in nature. Indeed, investments in nature-based solutions will have to triple by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 if we are to have a shot at solving the planetary emergency.”

The new report echoes findings from the Green Purposes Company (GPC), which recently detailed how a $700bn investment gap into NbS needs to be addressed in order to meet wider net-zero goals and combat the climate crisis.

Research from Global Canopy suggests that there is a $700bn annual financing gap towards biodiversity conservation. Estimates suggest that financing this market will reach $854bn annually by 2030 to halt natural degradation, but just $130bn per year, and predominantly provided by public and philanthropic sector organisations, is being provided.

As such, the report calls governments, investors and businesses to work together to create frameworks mobilise funds into NbS. According to the report, 200 global projects had a total disclosed value of approximately $1.5bn, suggesting long-term value for those who support the market.

Matt Mace

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