Natural Capital Dialogue
Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar 28th January 2015
Increasing Investments in Natural Capital in the Greater Mekong Subregion
The Natural Capital Dialogue brought together senior GMS government officials, international experts and a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the significance of natural capital in the context of inclusive and sustainable development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Occurring ahead of the 4th GMS Environment Ministers’ Meeting (EMM4), the Natural Capital Dialogue presented an important opportunity to draw public and business sector attention to the need to increase investments in the Subregion’s natural capital.
Building on the momentum of Rio+20, GMS countries began to recognize the importance of natural capital for inclusive and sustainable development. However some questions required further discussion. These included: i) how sound natural capital management can deliver inclusive and sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty; ii) how to move from concept to action; and iii) how incorporation of natural capital values inform sound policy and investment decisions?
The EMM4 took place a month after the 5th GMS Summit, where the Leaders of GMS countries stated the need to align the GMS vision of greater connectivity, competitiveness and community with national development strategies in order to attain mutual benefits. The GMS Leaders pledged to support the Regional Investment Framework (RIF) Implementation Plan as a strategic and results-based action plan that promotes inclusive and sustainable development in the GMS. The RIF Implementation Plan (2014–2018) represents an investment pipeline of over $30 billion, which will further enhance the subregion’s: a) physical capital, by supporting infrastructure development – to improve connectivity; b) its human capital, by supporting institutional and capacity development – to improve competitiveness; and c) its social capital – by supporting a greater shared sense of community.
In this context it is also important to recognize the need to increase investments in the Subregion’s natural capital which underpins the sustainability, inclusiveness and resilience of the RIF Implementation Plan. Indeed, in the context of the subregion’s vulnerability to climate change and other natural disasters, as well as to human-induced shocks, investments in natural capital present some of the most cost effective, economically viable and socially inclusive adaptation and resilience strategies. Failure to invest in natural assets is likely to significantly undermine achieving the GMS vision of greater connectivity, competitiveness and community.
Accordingly, the objectives of the Natural Capital Dialogue was to:
- Raise awareness about the value of natural capital within the context of inclusive and sustainable development in the subregion.
- Exchange global and regional good practices on promoting investments in natural capital.
- Build consensus on the need to integrate natural capital considerations into subregional and national development planning.
- Identify opportunities and priority actions to increase natural capital investments.
Identify effective and efficient partnerships for cross-sector and stakeholder coordination and collaboration to increase investments in natural capital at the subregional and national level.