A fifth of countries worldwide at risk from ecosystem collapse as biodiversity declines

Countries across the world are reliant on a range of services that are based around their natural ecosystems.

  • 39 countries have ecosystems in a fragile state on more than a third of their land – Malta, Israel, Cyprus, Bahrain and Kazakhstan have the lowest Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services (BES) ranking
  • 55% of global GDP depends on high-functioning BES
  • Major economies in Southeast Asia, Europe and the US exposed to BES decline
  • Swiss Re Institute BES Index enables businesses and governments to factor in biodiversity and ecosystem issues into economic decision-making

Countries across the world are reliant on a range of services that are based around their natural ecosystems. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (BES) include such necessities as food provision, water security and regulation of air quality that are vital to maintaining the health and stability of communities and economies.

Over half (55%) of global GDP, equal to USD 41.7 trillion 1, is dependent on high-functioning biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, a staggering fifth of countries globally (20%) are at risk of their ecosystems collapsing due to a decline in biodiversity and related beneficial services, reveals a new study by Swiss Re Institute.

The study, which is based on Swiss Re Institute’s new Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Index, shows that both developing and advanced economies are at risk. The report finds developing countries that have a heavy dependence on agricultural sectors, such as Kenya or Nigeria, are susceptible to BES shocks from a range of biodiversity and ecosystem issues.

Among G20 economies, South Africa and Australia top the rankings of fragile BES. The well-known impact of water scarcity is a driver for these countries, alongside factors such as costal protection and pollination. Brazil and Indonesia enjoy the highest percentage of intact ecosystems within the G20, however, the countries’ strong economic dependency on natural resources highlights the importance of sustainable development and conservation to the long-term sustainability of their economies. [ … ]

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