U.N.: Damaged ecosystems can create wealth

June 4, 2010 at 11:39 AM

KIGALI, Rwanda, June 4 (UPI) -- Targeted investments will be central to preserving natural reserves and generating wealth in developing nations, U.N. officials said in Rwanda.

The U.N. Environment Program in a 122-page report said restoring the environment is a way to alleviate poverty and generate federal wealth.

"The ecological infrastructure of the planet is generating services to humanity worth by some estimates over $70 trillion a year, perhaps substantially more," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Activities targeted in the UNEP report include rehabilitating water resources, improving soil fertility and carbon storage practices.

The report warns that restoration is urgent, as more than 60 percent of the world's ecosystems are degraded.

UNEP calls for long-term international financial assistance and food security initiatives. It calls on the international community to set aside 1 percent of their annual gross domestic product for conservation and management efforts.

Rwanda, meanwhile, hosts events Saturday marking World Environment Day.

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