The underlying causes of biodiversity loss can be addressed when biodiversity and social safeguards are coherent across international institutions. Futhermore, their institutionalisation within the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) framework can help promote equity.

Safeguards in Biodiversity Financing Mechanisms (BFMs) – measures for maximising the protection of biodiversity and people’s livelihoods, including local communities and indigenous peoples – can contribute to mainstream biodiversity and equitable governance across international and national institutions.

Insights build on law, science and stakeholder processes
With an interface approach between research, law, policy and practice, the policy report “Biodiversity financing and safeguards: lessons learned and proposed guidelines examines the notion of safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms (BFMs) and proposes overarching guidelines for safeguards, and operational next steps in the process of scaling-up biodiversity financing for achieving the CBD objectives.

This policy report is part of SwedBio’s work on safeguards, biodiversity financing and legal systems and has built on insights of stakeholders’ processes such as the Quito II Dialogue in 2014 on Scaling up Biodiversity Finance where safeguards were discussed.

This Policy Report is also part of the scientific project “Effective and Equitable Institutional Arrangements for Financing and Safeguarding Biodiversity” at Stockholm Resilience Centre. The report is conducted together with a network of experts in law, science and policy and includes a scientific paper on the policy report’s topic currently under development.

This policy report was well received in CBD negotiations and in the final COP12 Decision on resource mobilization. The report also became Information Document 27 for COP12 in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It is the result of a lengthy and collaborative process following the request by COP11 in Hyderabad, India to further develop the initial version of this publication including inputs and comments from Parties and other relevant stakeholders. It also builds on lessons learned from existing legal and policy processes under various international and national frameworks.

The CBD Secretariat developed a summary of the main findings of this policy report which was part of the COP12 Official Documents and then formed voluntary guidelines for safeguards in Biodiversity Financing Mechanisms. These options for guidelines, translated into the United Nations official languages, were based on the proposed guidelines in the policy report and negotiated by the 193 CBD Parties at COP12. Subsequently, they were adopted under section “Strategy for resource mobilization” of Decision XII/3 and respective Annex III.

The fact that this COP12 Decision XII/3 not only addresses Parties of the CBD but also other actors is specially relevant in the context of multilevel governance. It signals that diverse stakeholders have a role to play in scaling-up financing for biodiversity that effectively brings about socio-ecological benefits. Decision XII/3 “urges Parties, other Governments, business organizations and other stakeholders to take the voluntary guidelines on safeguards in biodiversity financing mechanisms into account when selecting, designing and implementing biodiversity financing mechanisms, and when developing instrument-specific safeguards for them…”

Besides adopting the guidelines, Decision XII/3 by the Conference of the Parties refers to operational next steps linking international level CBD processes with national legislation and policies. Specifically, it “Urges  Parties to consider undertaking, as appropriate, a review and assessment of existing legislation and policies governing biodiversity financing mechanisms, with a view to identifying opportunities for mainstreaming biodiversity and strengthening current policies and their complementary safeguards, and to make information on this work available to the Executive Secretary, including practical experiences and lessons learned”. The Executive Secretary will synthesize this information for consideration by the Subsidiary Body for Implementation at its first meeting. The importance of articulating legal systems at different scales and exchanging lessons learned in the process of doing so is a key consideration both of the guidelines and operational roadmap proposed in the policy report. While fostering social learning, these processes can contribute to the resilience of law and to laws contributing to socio-ecological resilience.

Ituarte-Lima, C., Schultz, M., Hahn, McDermott, C., and Cornell, S., 2014, Biodiversity financing and safeguards: lessons learned and proposed guidelines, Stockholm: SwedBio/Stockholm Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, Information Document UNEP/CBD/COP/12/INF/27 for the 12th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Pyeongchang Korea.

Note about the authors
Claudia Ituarte-Lima, Maria Schultz, Thomas Hahn and Sarah Cornell all work at Stockholm Resilience Centre and Constance McDermott works at University of Oxford.