‘Nature-based Development Policies Can Bring Inclusive Growth in Himalayan Region’

Dec 22nd, 2014 | By | Category: Climatic Changes in Himalayas, Development and Climate Change, News

In  a recent policy dialogue held in Kolkata, representatives of four countries of the eastern Himalayas and the neighbourhood have stressed on the need to include the value of natural capital in national accounts.

The dialogue, titled ‘Natural Capital for Inclusive Growth: Options and Tools for South
Asia’, brought together more than 40 senior policy practitioners, ecologists, economists, and statisticians from Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and states in north east India. Participants also included forestry officers, statistical officers, economic planning officials, and representatives of influential NGOs.
The event was jointly organized by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The key lesson was that it was important to value and account for the contribution of ecosystems and ecosystem services, such as water, forests, and biodiversity, to a country’s overall
capital, as well as the support they provide to human well-being and sustainable development. Incorporating natural capital into the national accounts system will create scope for a broader and more inclusive approach, as it would take into account the resource base of the poor, a group often left behind under current economic growth models.
The experts called for greater efforts to make policies that take into account the full value of ecosystem services. This message of the policy dialogue was: “We now need to think beyond GDP, as traditional indicators are limited to measuring social progress, and fail to account for well-being and sustainability”.
ICIMOD Director of Programme Operations Eklabya Sharma said that mountains are endowed with a rich natural capital base, but also have a large bulk of the region’s poor
population. “We need to take landscape level and river basin approaches while trying to improve the sustainable management of natural capital in the mountains, and to account for their impacts in the downstream areas,” he said. (EOIC)

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