While bemoaning the global impact of rich countries’ subsidies on poorer economies, environmentalists are taking a closer look at how the elimination of some subsidies may be detrimental to the environment.

The recent world summit on sustainable development was either a success or a disappointment, depending on whom you ask.For a clear assessment of the summit’s achievements, it should be measured against what is in fact needed to achieve sustainable development and what was feasible in the current political climate.

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More than a billion people world-wide live in extreme poverty and preventable diseases are a major cause of mortality in developing countries, so why should we care about the environment? The answer becomes obvious once we recall that in developing countries activities based on natural resources, such as agriculture, forestry and fisheries, still contribute more to the economy than industry or services. And since many of the world’s poor depend directly on these activities for a living, environmental degradation hurts the poor disproportionately.

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.3% Q3 2019
Consumer price inflation: 1.8 % Nov 2019 annual
Trade (G20): -0.7% exp, -0.9% imp, Q3 2019
Unemployment: 5.1% November 2019
Last update: 15 January 2020

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