Stepping up protection for natural areas, such as parks, oceans, forests and wildernesses, is seen as vital to maintaining the ecosystems on which humans depend, and to limiting global warming to internationally agreed targets. The report looked at how wealthy nations can better tackle the planet’s climate, biodiversity and land degradation crises, such as by promoting sustainable farming and supply chains, or creating green spaces in cities to tackle rising heat. Dozens of countries pledged to do more to conserve nature and make farming greener at November’s COP26 U.N. climate talks, including a commitment by more than 100 nations to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.
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“The amount of money being invested in nature-based solutions is not nearly enough,” Mulder told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “I would hope that G20 countries can lead by example and they’re not doing that at the moment.” Co-author Ivo Mulder, who heads the climate finance unit at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the report’s focus on the G20 and nature funding gaps could help those rich nations that have shown political leadership on the issue in recent months, including at the COP26 climate summit.
Finance from the private sector also remains small at 11% of the G20 total, or $14 billion a year, even though it contributes about 60% of gross domestic product in most G20 countries. The report’s authors called on the G20 to grab opportunities to boost their international investment in things like restoring degraded land and ecosystems, which can often be cheaper and more efficient than similar nature-based projects at home. Funding from G20 nations represented 92% of all global investment in nature, the report found, with the vast majority of this government money – 87%, or $105 billion – allocated to programmes inside their own borders, the report said.
The new study said the spending gap was larger and more difficult to bridge outside the G20 group of countries – not helped by the fact that only 2% of the G20’s $120-billion investment in 2020 was directed towards overseas aid. Last year, a U.N. report said global funding for nature conservation needed to triple this decade to about $350 billion a year by 2030 and rise to more than $536 billion by 2050.
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