UN-backed report: Investing in biodiversity brings multiple benefits
Benefits of investing in protection of biodiversity outweigh financial costs, says a new UN-backed report that SwedBio contributed to.
Implementing measures that promote the sustainable use of biodiversity is a investment that will bring multiple economic and environmental benefits, according to the United Nations-backed report released today, says Maria Schultz, Director of SwedBio, and part of the panel that delivered the report.
The second report of the UN High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 concludes that the benefits of investing in measures that promote the sustainable use of biodiversity outweigh the financial costs.
The report, released at the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), known as COP-12, in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea, found that there is a gap across all countries and regions between investments needed to meet the 20 global biodiversity targets known as the Aichi targets, and the resources currently allocated to this endeavour.
Investments in biodiversity and in the implementation of the Aichi Targets will deliver significant co-benefits for sustainable development. The Targets are inextricably linked to all aspects of sustainable development including poverty alleviation, the rights of indigenous and local communities, long-term food security, human health, climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience; as well as to ecological infrastructure, local livelihoods, and job creation, thereby supporting national and global economies. Hence, biodiversity conservation and sustainable use constitute not only the environmental aspect of sustainable development, but are broadly linked to development as a whole, including economic and social dimensions.
“Even though political commitment is there, we don’t have a good financial investment plan behind it, we hope that this report will allow parties to move forward actions at the national level as well as the Convention level that are consistent with the political commitment of the Aichi targets” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Chair of the High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. He also stressed that countries should not simply think of higher expenditures, but they need to look for innovative ways in which development investments also take into account biodiversity.
“Political coherence is urgently needed at the country level,” Mr. Rodriguez said. “If we see how governments behave it’s quite contradictory. On the one hand, we see agencies promoting development with a high environmental cost, and on the other hand we see environmental agencies trying to repair the damage that development agencies have created. We need governments who are able to break down this kind of silo effect.”
Recommendations in the report include diversifying sources of finance for biodiversity; investing in protecting marine and land ecosystems with the view that this will tackle not just biodiversity issues but also wider development issues such as climate change; and strengthening dialogue between governments, the private sector and civil society on biodiversity initiatives.
The report explains how sound financial investment plans can be developed, and says that health and food security, for example, would benefit from higher investments in biodiversity initiatives.
Background to the report is that in 2012, the UK-India sponsored High-Level Panel reported on ‘Resourcing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets,’ to the CBD COP 11 in Hyderabad, India. The report acknowledged uncertainties as well as time and data constraints. The COP invited the High-level Panel, which is administered by the CBD Secretariat, to continue its work and to report back to COP 12. More specifically, the Panel was asked to look more comprehensively at the investment level needed and the return derived from the benefits of meeting the Aichi Targets.
Thus, the Panel was reconstituted and its composition broadened, with the fifteen-expert Panel assessing the benefits of meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets by examining both the positive impacts on biodiversity directly and the wider benefits to society resulting from investments and suitable policies.
The second report of the High Level Panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, presented to COP 12, reiterates that estimates at global, regional and national levels all point to a substantial gap between the investments needed to deliver biodiversity targets and the resources currently allocated, and refers to the 2012 High Level Panel Phase I review that estimated current levels of global funding for biodiversity at between USD 51 and 53 billion annually, compared to estimated needs of USD 300 to 400 billion annually.
Key messages – High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020[i]
- Meeting the Aichi Targets will deliver substantial benefits to people and to economies across the world
- Biodiversity is essential to sustainable development
- Biodiversity contributes to climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience
- Investments in biodiversity can strengthen the provision of ecosystem services on which vulnerable communities depend
- Biodiversity provides insurance and option values
- Enhancing synergies, addressing trade-offs and promoting alignments across sectoral policies, are prerequisites for effective implementation of the Aichi Targets and of major importance for resource mobilization
- All countries need to invest in institutions and policy frameworks, direct conservation and sustainable use actions, incentives and economic instruments
- Design and implementation of appropriate economic and policy instruments is essential to halt the loss of biodiversity
- The monetary and non-monetary benefits of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use frequently outweigh the costs
- There is a need to increase investments substantially to bridge financing gaps.
[i] Resourcing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, An Assessment of Benefits, Investments and Resource needs for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, Second Report of the High-Level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, 12 September 2014, CBD