One fifth countries at risk of ecosystem collapsing

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A fifth of the countries are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing because of the destruction of wildlife and their habitats, according to an international analysis. The study, which is based on Swiss Re Institute’s near Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Index, shows that both developing and advanced economies are at risk.

The study said that about 35 per cent of global GDP equal to 41.7 trillion dollars is dependent on high-functioning biodiversity and ecosystem services. The report said that developing countries that have a heavy dependence on agricultural sectors are susceptible to BES shocks from a range of biodiversity and ecosystem issues. Brazil and Indonesia enjoy the highest percentage of intact ecosystems within the G20. However, the countries’ strong economic dependency on natural resources highlights the importance of sustainable development and conservation to the long-term sustainability of their economies.

Swiss Re’s Group Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler called for a clear assessment of the state of ecosystems. This could help the global community to minimise further negative impact on economies across the world, Mumenthaler added.

Among the top ten countries with fragile ecosystems and high GDP dependency on natural services, the resource-rich developing countries with large agricultural sectors only7 stand out. The research highlights the dangers of these economies reaching critical tipping points when essential natural resources are disrupted. It highlights the value of ongoing economic diversification combined with conservation and preservation efforts in such countries.

Major economies in Southeast Asia, Europe and America that have diversified economies are also exposed to risk from BES decline, the report said. Swiss Re BES Trader provides a more holistic comparative view of the state of BES Globally. It works by aggregating data from ten different BESC categories addressing water scarcity, timber provision, food provision, soil fertility, water quality, regulation of air quality, local climate, erosion control and coastal protection.


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