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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

‘Greening’ the economic stimulus

Nature conservation and restoration should be central to measures designed for rebuilding economy

June 15, 2021 6:43:35 pm
This is the most opportune time for the economic wizards to build synergies with the ecological pundits to forge a path of green recovery.

Written by V B Mathur

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has severely disrupted economic activities globally, has caused a contraction in world GDP, and a significant loss of jobs. Countries are developing and implementing a range of economic measures, often a combination of expansionary fiscal and monetary measures. A number of issues have become germane to this process of economic recovery. For example, whether structural economic reforms will help the economy in the medium to long-term? Can the fiscal and monetary stimulus expeditiously revitalise the economy reeling from the impact of the pandemic? More importantly, how can this economic stimulus be made “green”?

Nature conservation/restoration and economic stimulus packages in a post-Covid world should not be seen as opposing goals, but rather as a long-term vision for society, leading to strengthening of their economic resilience. Thinking pragmatically, this crisis can serve as another call to strengthen the resolve towards “greening” the economic recovery. There is a need to engage in a sector-wise deep dive to assess the potential of nature-based solutions and green technologies in facilitating a green recovery as promoting green solutions holds immense potential in creating a narrative for a resilient new economy.

It is being widely recognised that nature-based solutions (NbS) can play a significant role in helping economies move towards a green recovery. Globally, several ecosystems have a sizable human imprint on them and therefore NbS have significant potential in restoring these ecosystems.

There is a need to revisit/review the sectors as well as the scale for applying NbS as they have far greater potential than conventional investments in economic stimulus packages being designed and implemented to address the post-Covid multiple societal challenges. In other words, ecosystem restoration through NbS can simultaneously benefit the environment, economy and society.

In addition to promoting NbS, there is an urgent need to enhance carbon sinks through an increase in forestry and tree cover, water efficiency, and sustainable agriculture practices to decarbonise the global economy. There is also a need for developing a “Green Finance Taxonomy” or simply a process of “Green Tagging”, in which both biodiversity and climate-related expenditures in the national budgetary systems are systematically tracked /quantified to assess the progress towards green growth.

This is the most opportune time for the economic wizards to build synergies with the ecological pundits to forge a path of green recovery.

The writer is chairperson, National Biodiversity Authority of India

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