Funding global biodiversity conservation: is the EU doing its share?
The EU must mobilise sufficient financial, technological and knowledge resources to support countries, that are still developing economically and institutionally, in preserving biodiversity – for reasons of historical responsibility, but also because of the “polluter pays” principle: a lot of biodiversity damage in the South is resulting from unsustainable consumption and production patterns in the North. However, in particular stepping up the support to the poor would also be a highly strategic measure for preventing huge economic, societal and security risks to Europe itself. For example, the economic existence of half a billion people globally depends on intact coral reefs. Their degradation and collapsing fish stocks are already resulting in increased migration to industrialised countries and political instability.
The existing financial contributions of the EU and its EU Member States are significant, however far from sufficient. While this is recognised in the EU Biodiversity Strategy, it is hard to see progress of the EU and its EU Member States with regard to the implementation of the CBDs Strategy for Resource Mobilisation. In order to ensure a swift implementation of the Strategic Plan of the CBD, politically supported by Parties, it is of utmost importance to agree, at COP-11 in Hyderabad/India, on the key elements regarding baseline, needs assessments and funding targets. The EU and its Member States must, despite of their budget constraints, take a pioneering role here, if they do not want to put their great achievements made at Nagoya in 2010 at risk.
In particular, the EU’s future 2014-2020 budget has to ensure clear additionality of financing international environmental commitments in relation to current Overseas Development Aid (ODA), provide sufficient funds by mainstreaming biodiversity in its development aid programmes, ensure a clear tracking mechanism of international commitments, and support financing for a thematic programme for the environment. The proposals made by the European Commission in these fields are largely on the right track; however they still need some improvement, corrections and support from the EU Member States and the European Parliament.
In addition, the European Commission proposal to establish, outside of the EU budget a mechanism/fund to pool together contributions from the EU Member States and the EU budget, has so far not been developed further.
Furthermore, it is of key importance that clear synergies are sought between funding of development, climate change and biodiversity objectives.