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UNEP FI Newsletter Highlights Rio+20 Natural Capital Declaration

UNEP FI8 February 2012: The UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) has released the February 2012 iisue of its newsletter, which includes articles on: the Natural Capital Declaration, intended to demonstrate the commitment of financial institutions at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20); UNEP FI's activities at the Durban Climate Change Conference; and the release of a report on insurance, drawing on lessons from the Southern Cape of South Africa.   

According to UNEP FI, Rio+20 affords financial institutions a unique opportunity to show their commitment to natural capital. The Natural Capital Declaration, which states that endorsing banks, investors and (re)insurance firms acknowledge the financial materiality of natural capital to their business, and commit to taking action to embed natural capital considerations in lending, investment and insurance products and services, is open for endorsement. The Declaration calls on governments to develop the regulatory frameworks to stimulate businesses through disclosure, reporting and fiscal measures to integrate, value and account for natural capital in a company's operations.

The newsletter also provides details of UNEP FI's activities at the Durban Climate Change Conference aimed at promoting the mobilizing of private capital towards a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. The newsletter also introduces a new UNEP FI report, titled “Insurance in a Changing Risk Landscape - Local lessons from the Southern Cape of South Africa,” which offers a snapshot of the challenges borne out of a quickly evolving local risk horizon, using examples from South Africa's Southern Cape Province. Among risk factors flagged by the report are an increased human development and growing exposure of infrastructure; changes in weather patterns as a result of climate change; and the deterioration and disappearance of regulating ecosystems. [Publication: UNEP Financing Initiative February 2012 Newsletter]