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Nations increasing wealth at the expense of environment, Inclusive Wealth Report shows

By UN Environment ~

The Republic of Korea, Singapore and Malta come out on top of biennial survey of growth in the wealth of nations, the preliminary findings of which were presented by UN Environment and partners today in Paris.

The Inclusive Wealth Report 2018, the full findings of which will be released in coming weeks, shows that while overall global wealth is rising, the increase for many countries comes at the expense of environmental assets, such as water, clean air, forests and biodiversity.

The report, curated by more than 200 economists from around the world, explores alternatives to using Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of a country’s wealth, saying that GDP measures the size of a country’s economy but not its underlying asset base. Instead, it uses inclusive wealth, which focuses on stocks of manufactured, human and natural capital.

By this measure, 44 of the 140 countries – more than a third – ranked in the report’s Inclusive Wealth Index have declined in inclusive wealth per head since 1998, even though GDP has increased in many of them.

“The health of an economy is drawn from the health of the environment,” said Pushpam Kumar, Senior Economic Advisor at UN Environment and coordinator of the report.

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