The Biodiversity Bargain

At a time when the world is struggling to combat climate change, sustain a growing global population, and find decent jobs for millions of young people, investing in forests and biodiversity represents a root and branch response to these multiple challenges. But it requires more ambitious and wider public- and private-sector support.

NAIROBI – What will it cost to save the world’s forests and boost the life prospects of its seven billion people? In a few days, India will host a meeting in Hyderabad of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. The assembled countries will consider how to raise the resources necessary to achieve the ambitious Aichi Biodiversity Targets, adopted two years ago at the last such meeting in Japan.

The Aichi targets call for cutting by half the rate of loss of the planet’s natural habitats, including forests, by 2020. In Hyderabad, governments will be presented with the likely costs of scaling up efforts to achieve that goal.

One assessment estimates that about $40 billion a year will be needed to halve rates of deforestation and ensure sustainable management of forests in developing countries by the target date. The cost may seem significant in a world of rising unemployment rates, with many countries still struggling with ongoing financial and economic crises, and others staring bankruptcy in the face.

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