Global wealth rising at cost of environment: UN report

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Paris– A report by the United Nations and its partners on Monday showed overall global wealth was rising but at the cost of environmental assets, such as water, clean air, forests and biodiversity.

Korea, Singapore and Malta came out on top of a biennial survey of growth in the wealth of nations, according to the preliminary findings which were presented by the UN Environment and partners on the sidelines of the Global Finance Roundtable in Paris.

The Inclusive Wealth Report 2018, the full findings of which will be released in coming weeks, was curated by over 200 economists from around the world.

It explores alternatives to using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of a country’s wealth and says the GDP measures the size of a country’s economy, but not its underlying asset base.

Instead, it uses inclusive wealth, which focuses on human and natural capital.

By this measure, 44 of the 140 countries — more than a third — ranked in the report’s Inclusive Wealth Index have declined in inclusive wealth per head since 1998, even though GDP has increased in many of them.

“The health of an economy is drawn from the health of the environment,” Senior Economic Advisor at UN Environment and coordinator of the report Pushpam Kumar said in a statement.

“To make the right choices that will keep us on a sustainable path, we have to be able to properly measure our progress. This report will equip policy-makers with the right numbers, so that they can make the right decisions to deliver results for generations to come.”

The report follows a study from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that found that just 12 years remain to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

It adds in absolute terms, carbon damage is relatively large in high-income countries.

By allowing countries to measure their holistic wealth stock comprising manufactured, human and natural capital, countries can then observe their peaks and troughs over time, mapping out a means for navigating future development endeavours and sustainability.

The Inclusive Wealth Report is a biennial report that seeks to evaluate and report on a country’s wealth and well-being through the Inclusive Wealth index, a tool assessing a nation’s ability to look after its wealth in a way that is sustainable and safeguards its future generations. (IANS)


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