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Poverty Reduction: Continuing with business-as-usual is not an option

Continuing with business-as-usual is not an option in a world of increasing environmental scarcities, growing economic uncertainty and inequalities, and the continued existence of widespread poverty. The Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty is still far from reach despite decades of economic growth and efforts for poverty eradication.

The recent financial, food and economic crises have brought new setbacks in the fight against poverty.

Although the causes of these crises vary, at a fundamental level they all share a common feature: the gross misallocation of capital into economic sectors and activities that led to accelerated depletion of natural resources and ecosystems on which the poor depend, inter alia, for their businesses and wealth creation opportunities.

Initiatives aimed at greening the economy in different parts of the world have shown to improve growth of GDP, especially the GDP of the poor, quality and quantity of jobs, and stocks and flows of natural capital. UNEP research suggests that an investment scenario of allocating 2 per cent of global GDP to greening economic sectors will produce a higher global GDP, compared to business-as-usual scenario – within only 10 years.

A package of green investments coupled with policy reforms aimed at making growth socially inclusive offers economically viable options to reduce poverty and hunger, and address challenges of climate change and degradation of natural resources, while simultaneously providing new and sustainable pathways to economic development and prosperity.

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