Freshwater ecosystems are experiencing the highest decline’s rate – according to the new OECD Report


Nature underpins all economic activities and human well-being. It is the world’s most important asset. Yet humanity is destroying biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, posing significant but often overlooked risks to the economy, the financial sector and the well-being of current and future generations.

The latest report published by OECD provides the latest findings and policy guidance for G7 and other countries in four key areas:

  1. Measuring and mainstreaming biodiversity;
  2. Aligning budgetary and fiscal policy with biodiversity
  3. Embedding biodiversity in the financial sector;
  4. Improving biodiversity outcomes linked to international trade.

The report shows how Finance, Economic and Environment Ministries can drive the transformative changes required to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. This Policy Paper was prepared as an input document for the United Kingdom Presidency of the G7 in 2021. The report highlighted important water-related facts:

– Biodiversity underpins all economic activities and human well-being. It provides critical life-supporting ecosystem services, including the provision of food and clean water, but also largely invisible services such as flood protection, nutrient cycling, water filtration and pollination.
– Marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems are being pushed closer to thresholds and tipping points as a result of the increasing intensity of pressures, and their combined and often synergistic effects
– Freshwater ecosystems are experiencing some of the highest rates of decline, with 0.8% of wetlands being lost per year from 1970 to 2008 (IPBES, 2019).
– An analysis of options for improving water quality in Portland, United States, found that green infrastructure would be 51-76% cheaper (USD 68-72 million cheaper) than water-filtration plant upgrades and would bring co-benefits (e.g. salmon habitat and carbon sequestration), estimated conservatively at USD 72-125 million (Talberth et al., 2012)
– In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed technical assistance for local governments on how to design, promote and implement NbS for effective stormwater management. In addition, The US Army Corps of Engineers has streamlined the permitting process for living shorelines to incentivise NbS and correct for the comparative advantage held by hard infrastructure projects of shorter permitting times.
– France has committed EUR 250 million (USD 276 million) for 2021-2022 to support biodiversity, including projects to restore terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems, strengthen protected areas and promote coastal protection in the face of climate change (Government of France, 2020).
– The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of global wastewater (WEF, 2020) (UNECE, 2018).

To learn more, read the full report here.


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