Representatives from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the GIZ’s Resource Mobilization Project travelled to Mamallapurram, Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu to attend the UNDP’s 3rd Annual BIOFIN Global Conference from March 6th to 8th. Developed by the UNDP as a methodological framework to facilitate evidence based plans and solutions, BIOFIN seeks to support improved financing of biodiversity initiatives in developing countries. The third BIOFIN global conference saw delegates from over thirty countries — spanning from the Pacific and South East Asia to Sub-Saharan Africa to the Caribbean and Latin America – come together to support south to south dialogue on the challenges and opportunities for financing biodiversity initiatives.
The specific objectives of the third BIOFIN global conference were:
- Facilitate experience sharing and technical discussions among countries;
- Discuss the results from BIOFIN implementation to inform global for a and future;
- Explore opportunities for biodiversity finance solutions/investments in BIOFIN countries.
Representatives from the attending countries, UNDP country offices and from the private sector emphasized the need for nature based solutions in order to support sustainable development. For developing countries the restoration, conservation and protection of natural resources comes at substantial costs. With limited financial resources and numerous competing demands, countries — particularly those facing substantial developmental challenges – are faced with immense financial shortfalls between the resources required to meet national biodiversity needs and the resources allocated. Thus, the BIOFIN global conferences looked to facilitate the sharing of lessons between countries to strengthen their cases for increased financing for biodiversity and improving capacities in mobilizing resources.
Reframing biodiversity finance needs within wider national development goals was an underlying theme throughout the conference. Namibia’s biodiversity provides numerous ecosystem services that Namibians benefit from every day from fodder for livestock, bore hole repletion for water, medicines and products from various plants, habitat for fish inland and coastal to name just a few. Valuation studies, such as the ResMob TEEB study — please see here: https://resmob.org/the-national-teeb-the-economics-of-ecosystems-and-biodiversity-study-valuate-the-value-on-namibias-nature/ — can highlight the often undervalued services the ecosystem and biodiversity provide the country. Studies like these can facilitate the re-contextualization of biodiversity related expenditure as important investments towards ensuring that vital ecosystem services are able to support development now and in the future. This is particularly poignant as payments for ecosystem services and biodiversity offsets have been highlighted as potential mechanisms for financing conservation efforts in Namibia.
Another key theme emerging from the conference was the growing potential of green finance. Representatives from national governments and the banking and investment sectors spoke of innovative examples of success – both for the environmental initiatives financed and regarding the profitable returns for investors. For Namibia this topic was particularly topical as the recent focus group on biodiversity finance mechanisms singled out green finance and crowd sourcing.
For more information on the conference click here: http://www.biodiversityfinance.net/news-and-media/ministers-and-experts-debate-better-financing-nature