Money at the heart of international efforts to save nature

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Observers say more new funding is needed, as well as the redirection of the money spent on activities like some agriculture that are harmful to nature.

Can humanity curb spending that harms the world’s biodiversity and instead focus funding on protecting it?

That question is at the heart of international negotiations in Geneva, which will set the stage for a crucial United Nations COP 15 biodiversity summit in China later this year.

Almost 200 countries are due to adopt a global framework this year to safeguard nature by mid-century from the destruction wrought by humanity, with a key milestone of 30 percent protected by 2030.

These ambitions will only be met with a new approach to biodiversity and a rethink of the huge sums spent on subsidies harmful to nature, according to observers.

Subsidies for things like , agriculture and fishing can often result in and encourage unsustainable levels of production and consumption, experts say.

The exact figure that the world spends on these harmful subsidies is debated, although the group Business for Nature estimates that it could be as much as $1.8 trillion every year, or two percent of global gross domestic product.

Financing in general is among the more challenging issues up for debate at the Geneva meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), which runs until Tuesday.

“Resource mobilisation at this meeting has become a thorny issue,” said Ghanaian academic Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, who has played a key role in international efforts to protect biodiversity.

“It is a balancing act. At the global level money has continuously been a problem.”

‘Not peanuts’

The draft text contains the aim “to redirect, reallocate, reform or eliminate harmful incentives”, reducing them by at least 500 billion dollars per year.

It also includes a goal of increasing total finance from all sources to at least $200 billion a year by 2030 and increasing international money that goes to by at least $10 billion per year.

Last year, a study by groups including The Nature Conservancy and the Paulson Institute estimated that in 2019, the world spent between $124 and $143 billion per year on activities that benefit nature.

But they said the amount needed by 2030 should be up to $967 billion per year, which could include refocussing funding for harmful subsidies.

Vinod Mathur, president of the National Biodiversity Authority of India, is calling for $100 billion every year in additional funding.

“There has to be substantial funding, not just peanuts. It should be new funding, or additional funding and it should be timely,” he told AFP.

Without it, developing countries say ambitious conservation targets will be impossible to achieve, a real concern given the world has missed virtually all of its biodiversity targets so far.

Rich countries “recognize that there are additional efforts to be made”, according to one representative, although they took issue with the developing countries’ estimates of funding needed.

Observers expect the to play an increasingly important role.

Private sector role

Last year, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg joined other philanthropists in pledging $5 billion by 2030 for biodiversity restoration and conservation.

The Business for Nature coalition has the support of more than a thousand companies, which like the conservation groups, are asking for an ambitious text.

“Companies need the political certainty to urgently invest, innovate, shift their ,” said Business for Nature Director Eva Zabey, adding that many firms are prepared to be held accountable for their impact.

As for subsidies, governments often defend them as helping the poor, said Ronald Steenblik, author of the Business for Nature study.

But he said “when you do the analysis you find that actually the major beneficiaries are very often the most wealthy”.

Some 80 percent of fishing subsidies, for example, go to industrial fishing and not to small-scale fishermen.

But reforms can be challenging because entire sectors of activity depend on them.

As is often the case in international negotiations, the subject will likely only be resolved in the home stretch, at COP15 in China.



© 2022 AFP

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Uncertainty, money worries and stress: Gig workers need support and effective ways to cope

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Shutterstock

This weekend, you might hit “place order” for a meal delivery. Or jump in a ride share to meet friends. In both cases, you’ll be engaging a gig worker.

“Gig ” is a term that generally refers to people who get work through smartphone apps—think Uber, Ola, AirTasker, Snappr, and others.

Approximately 250,000 Australians are part of the gig economy—including many who consider it a “side hustle” on top of a regular job.

While gig work might be a good way to make some extra cash, our new research based on a survey of Australian gig workers, found they tend to be more stressed than other types of workers.

We also looked at to try and find out how these workers could look after themselves better.

Gig work is uncertain work

There are some key things that define gig work and can make it more stressful.

Gig work is generally unpredictable—you usually don’t know when the next gig is going to come. That means you’ll likely experience uncertainty—both around your time and your money—which can cause stress.

Our of 49 gig workers found they reported higher levels of stress than the general population—regardless of the number of platforms or employers they worked for.

Participants were also more likely to be stressed if they worked fewer hours each week or earned under $20,000 each year. A recent Canadian study also found gig workers felt powerless and that financial strain contributed to increased stress.

We found having a higher level of education (such a or postgraduate qualification) was associated with increased stress in gig workers. This might be the case for people doing gig work to pay the bills while searching for a job in their chosen field, such as university students or people who’ve come to live in Australia from overseas.

Gig economy workers are excluded from all the rights of other workers like the minimum wage and workers compensation. The Australian union movement did not fight for just some workers to have rights, we fought for all workers to have rights. We need to #changetherules #qanda

— Sally McManus (@sallymcmanus) May 28, 2018

Making things better

We looked at how gig workers might better manage stress and what coping strategies might be the most helpful.

The most effective methods were (from family, friends, or other gig workers), planning, and active coping strategies that consider challenges then draw on available resources to seek help and find solutions to overcome them.

Avoidant strategies (disengagement, denial, venting) increased stress for the people in our study. These findings echo those reported by people who have highly , including intensive care nurses and student teachers.

Interestingly, some coping strategies that seem to be helpful for other groups of people aren’t as helpful for gig workers. For example, trying to understand a stressful situation better, positive reframing, and acceptance are effective for police officers, but don’t have the same benefits for gig workers.

This might be because the stressors faced by gig workers are intrinsic to their work characteristics (uncertainty, low incomes, unpredictable work hours) rather than the content of the work they need to do during a shift.

So, what does this mean for Australian gig workers?

While we might not be able to change the nature of these working arrangements (yet), we can recommend certain strategies to help manage stress.

Getting support from family and friends is likely to be helpful, as is making a plan for finances and work time as much as possible. For some people, this might be deciding in advance when to “log on” and make themselves available for gigs, while also marking out some dedicated time off each week.

On the other hand, gig workers should try not to use avoidant , such as trying to ignore the stressful issue, withdrawing from social activities, or seeking distracting risk-taking behaviors. Rather, they should try to take an active role in managing problems as they come up.

Despite the increase in Australians doing various kinds of gig work, there is still a lot we don’t know. This is a new area of research and data is difficult to collect with such a wide range of people involved who don’t congregate in any one workplace.

Despite the challenges, it is critical policies (as well as psychological support services) consider the potential impact of precarious, unstable working arrangements on the and mental well-being of workers.



This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Uncertainty, money worries and stress: Gig workers need support and effective ways to cope (2022, March 11)
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