UNEP: Restoring Natural Capital Can Help Reduce Extreme Poverty

Building an inclusive green economy can help achieve sustainable farming and ensure better watershed and coastal management.

Similarly the restoration of ecosystems provides an excellent return on investment, with favourable cost-benefit ratios.

Restoration of natural capital like degraded ecosystems include activities such as:

  • restoration and rehabilitation of impaired terrestrial, coastal, and aquatic ecosystems
  • improvements to production systems on arable lands and other lands or wetlands that are managed or exploited for human purposes
  • improvements in the ecologically sustainable utilization of biological resources, and
  • enhancement of socioeconomic systems that incorporate knowledge and awareness of the value of natural capital into daily activities and public policy.

The United Nations Environment Programme‘s (UNEP) report on land degradation shows that for 42 countries of Africa the benefit of intervening to conserve land is 3-26 times greater than the cost of inaction.

Land restoration reduces people’s vulnerability as it mitigates the loss of ecosystem services, serves as an insurance policy against future disasters, and safeguards the genetic bank of biological material and seed for future use.

Policies to restore natural capital include wetland banking, biodiversity offsets and compensation for ecosystem service losses. Such policies have the potential to generate funds which can be used for natural capital maintenance and poverty alleviation.

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