World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh 2015

Monday 30th November 2015

Hill top view- Gemma de Gouveia

The World Forum on Natural Capital was held last week in Edinburgh.

Last week (23rd-24th November), 600 delegates from 45 countries, including Wildlife Trusts Wales, gathered in Edinburgh for the second World Forum on Natural Capital hosted by Scottish Wildlife Trust, in association with several international partners including the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

National Capital can be defined as the world’s stocks of natural assets which include geology, soil, air, water and all living things. It is from the natural capital that humans derive a wide range of services, often called ecosystem services, which make human life possible. The concept itself is not a new one, but the increasing pressure on the planet’s resources has led to a greatly increased interest in the last few years. Now it is a rapidly evolving concept which looks at the economic costs of damaging our natural environment and the economic benefits of protecting and restoring it. Scottish Wildlife Trust has created an infographic to help explain called - Can’t see the trees for the wood?
No number can ever represent the true value of nature. Nature’s intrinsic value is far beyond monetary valuation, but all too often nature’s value is invisible in economic decision making. However, according to Scottish Wildlife, it needn’t be that way. Natural capital is gaining momentum due to the urgency of addressing the global biodiversity crisis, climate change, food security and water scarcity. It is vital that we can provide opportunities that inspire people to re-connect with nature so that the next generation will instinctively cherish it.

Both the Bank of England and the White House have both publicly recognised the need to move environmental protection up the priority list in the last few weeks. As well as this, a number of organisations have worked in this area for many years, such as WWF, Conservation International, the David Suzuki Foundation and many more are active in moving the natural capital approach forward for the benefit of nature. In a forward to a publication from the WWF Heart of Borneo Global Initiative, Sir David Attenborough has said that: “Forests are natural capital that we can ill afford to squander, yet we don’t know the true value of what we have in our ‘natural bank’.”

“Conventional national accounts give us GDP and other measures, but they fail to measure things that are not paid for in cash, no matter how valuable they are and no matter what the monetary costs would be if we had to replace them.”

If you want to know how the Scottish Wildlife Trust is turning their ideas in to action, visit the website here.