"Preserving ecosystems and saving species are not luxuries for the rich," said World Bank President Robert Zoellick in remarks before a biodiversity conference. "Conservation and development can go hand in hand."
Zoellick was speaking before delegates at a U.N.-backed convention on biological diversity in Nagoya, Japan.
The World Bank president said his group would increase its financial support for conservation, noting preservation and economic development were crucially linked.
"Biodiversity is not an add-on," he stressed.
The World Bank, Zoellick said, has invested more than $6 billion on biodiversity services in more than 120 countries during the last 20 years and envisioned even more.
The $6 billion, however, wasn't enough, the president said. The bank would announce a global partnership Thursday that recognizes the natural wealth of nations.
"I want the World Bank Group to show what can be done," he said. "We will increase financing of ecosystem and biodiversity services through our projects in a wide range of sectors -- including infrastructure, agriculture, climate change, and policy lending operations."