We live in a richer, but environmentally poorer world: UN

While 44 of 140 countries are seeing their GDP rise, their inclusive wealth index is registering a decline

By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Tuesday 27 November 2018

Many countries lose their natural assets like water, clean air, forests and biodiversity. Credit: Getty ImagesThe inclusive wealth of one-third of the countries in the world has declined, but their gross domestic product (GDP) has increased, finds the Inclusive Wealth Report 2018 presented by the UN Environment and partners in Paris on Monday.

While GDP measures the size of a country’s economy, inclusive wealth index focuses on stocks of manufactured, human and natural capital. This means that 44 out of 140 countries are gaining wealth at the cost of environmental assets like water, clean air, forests and biodiversity. The inclusive wealth index is a tool assessing a nation’s ability to look after its wealth in a way that is sustainable and safeguards its future generations.

This is after the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said that the world has just 12 years left to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

“The health of an economy is drawn from the health of the environment,” said Pushpam Kumar, senior economic advisor at UN Environment and coordinator of the report. “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 biennial report, which was curated by more 200 scientists from all over the world, finds The Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malta as the nations that have had the most economic growth. The report also revealed that carbon damage is relatively larger in high-income countries.

India too sails in the same boat, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation had said last month in a report on environment accounts. It had revealed that India’s economic growth took a toll on its natural assets like forests, food and clean air. It had added that when the average growth rate of gross state domestic product (GSDP) during 2005-15 for almost all the states was around 7-8 per cent, 11 states registered a decline in their natural capital.

These reports remind the world about how important sustainable use of natural resources is.

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