7 Oct 2014

Mobilise financial resources, prioritise nature - and act!

The amount of money needed for the protection of biodiversity worldwide is small in comparison to the global economy (Murray Cooper)
By Martin Fowlie

The Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Twelfth Conference of Parties (COP 12) has begun in Pyeongchang, South Korea, bringing together countries from around the world to discuss the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from its genetic resources. The mobilisation of financial resources for achieving the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and Aichi Biodiversity Targets is a priority agenda item for the two weeks of negotiations. The group of non-governmental organisations consisting of BirdLife International, Conservation International (CI), The Nature Conservancy and WWF issued the following joint statement regarding progress toward meeting the 2020 target of implementing the Strategy for Resource Mobilissation.

Parties to the CBD have made a significant commitment towards achieving sustainable development by adopting the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. At almost half-way through its implementation some progress, as well as considerable challenges, have been identified. Fifty out of the fifty five Target elements assessed for the GBO4 publication show implementation has progressed at an insufficient rate or is moving away from the agreed target. Governments need urgently to take responsibility to halt biodiversity loss by immediately adopting far-reaching actions to protect our global biodiversity. In a recent position paper, BirdLife, CI, The Nature Conservancy and WWF call on the Parties to:

  • Maintain and accelerate the COP11 targets to double international financial flows for biodiversity conservation by 2015, maintaining this level of commitment through 2020;
  • Foresee providing additional resources when requested by developing countries that have met their commitments under COP 11 Decision XI/4 and have identified specific priority activities for biodiversity conservation and achievement of national-level Aichi Targets;
  • Prioritise biodiversity in national plans and foreign development aid requests;
  • Scale up technical support and capacity building for biodiversity conservation and the use of increased funds; and
  • Speed up implementation of Aichi Biodiversity Targets 2 (incorporating biodiversity values), 3 (removing harmful subsidies) and 4 (sustainable consumption and production) in order to facilitate and reduce the expense of achieving many of the Aichi targets.

Carolina Hazin, Global Biodiversity Policy Coordinator, BirdLife International said  “The finances needed for the protection of biodiversity worldwide are small in comparison to the global economy, especially if we consider the associated social benefits. What is needed is a change in the economic agendas of governments and all sectors of society to secure sustainable development is truly achieved.”

Maggie Comstock, Senior Manager, Climate and Biodiversity Finance Policy, Conservation International said, “The High-Level Panel estimates that it will require US$150 billion and US$440 billion each year to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by 2020. Each year that Parties delay meaningful action toward implementation increases the future costs of biodiversity conservation and threatens the existence of already vulnerable species and habitats.”

Ariane Steinsmeier, Senior Policy Advisor for International Biodiversity Policy, The Nature Conservancy: “At COP 12, we urge parties to stay committed to the increase of financial and technical resources for the implementation of the Aichi targets. Many countries are taking the lead and will hopefully inspire others to follow and prioritise biodiversity in their national plans and foreign development aid requests.”

Susan Brown, Director of Global and Regional Policy, WWF International: "As well as doubling the biodiversity spend at international level, there are a number of urgent policy measures Governments must take to incentivise and value biodiversity and ecosystem protection and concurrently, to remove measures which promote unsustainable behaviors and distortions. These include subsidies to the fishing, forestry and agriculture industries and benefits and tax breaks for polluting and over exploitation."

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