What price security?

EDG’s James Watson and colleagues are calling for a fundamental step change in funding, planning and enforcement of our protected areas (Watson et al, 2014). Not only are we falling behind meeting the Aichi targets we all signed up for (see Decision Point #83), our existing protected area estate is being degraded across the developed and the developing world. They conclude with a spending comparison: “The package of responses needed for the step change is neither impossible nor unreasonable, although individual countries may struggle with some of the components. Fundamentally, it requires the recognition that protected areas are core to the future of life on our planet.

The annual cost of managing an expanded network of protected areas is just 2.5% of the global military expenditure.

Estimations of the annual cost of adequately managing an expanded network of marine and terrestrial protected areas range from $45 billion to $76 billion, the lower of which is just 2.5% of the global military expenditure. But adequate protection of marine and terrestrial environments is also crucial to global security. It seems sensible to invest an amount equivalent to a tiny percentage of global military spending to help provide security for humans and all other living organisms on Earth through a system of marine and terrestrial protected areas that is operating at its full capacity”.

Reference: Watson JEM, N Dudley, DB Segan & M Hockings (2014). The performance and potential of protected areas. Nature 515: 67-73.

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