The value of safeguarding global biodiversity
A recently published article presents how investing in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity returns benefits far outweighing costs
- The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 aims to sustain healthy ecosystems supporting human well-being
- Biodiversity experts estimated resources needed and benefits of implementing the plan globally
- Current investments in biodiversity are approximately 0.002% of global GDP and should be increased fourfold
- Benefits of investing in biodiversity are manifold, including addressing climate-related issues and poverty alleviation
Countries that are parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed in 2010 to adopt 20 targets to tackle biodiversity loss and safeguard ecosystems, aiming to ensure that ecosystems are resilient and continue to provide essential services contributing to human well-being and poverty eradication, as well as securing the planet’s variety of life. The set of Aichi Biodiversity Targets was named after the Japanese prefecture where the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 was agreed.
In 2012, a series of High-level Panels on the Global Assessment of the Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 were convened to assess the amount of financial resources needed to implement it globally. In 2014, in accordance with a clear mandate from the Parties, the second High-level Panel conducted a series of literature reviews, focusing on a range of scales, on the costs and benefits of meeting the targets, and calculated the amount of resources needed to achieve them.
Investing in biodiversity can effectively reduce national and community vulnerability, increase resilience and aid adaptation to climate-related impacts at all scales, and contribute significantly to addressing climate change Tristan Tyrrell, Programme Officer at SwedBio and former Manager of the High-level Panel at the CBD Secretariat
A recently published scientific paper in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability reports the outcomes of this work, which concluded that there is much to be done to increase mobilization of biodiversity finance.
A large investment increase returning multiple benefits
The study shows that considerable investment is required, equating to between US$20 and US$60 per capita globally. Currently, an approximate 0.002% of the global GDP is invested on conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This means investment has to be increased fourfold to support the health of the Earth’s life support system.
“While the investment needed is undoubtedly high, a key conclusion is that the monetary and non-monetary benefits of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use to be achieved by implementing the Aichi Biodiversity Targets would significantly outweigh the cost” explains Dr Rashid Sumaila, University of British Columbia, member of the High-level Panel and lead author of the paper.
The authors also note that there is a need for countries to develop effective policies and instruments, such as through incentive reforms, which support increased investment, including extensive capacity building to better manage biodiversity and increasing domestic mobilisation of biodiversity finance.
Investing in biodiversity contributes to alleviating poverty
Alongside the recent article, the Panel earlier published an extensive report. Both documents additionally emphasize that many of the world’s poor are directly dependent on biodiversity to sustain their livelihood. Healthy ecosystems are crucial to acquire a diversity of foods and nutrients, and for household coping strategies during times of stress.
The need to work broadly with actors outside the biodiversity community and to see to synergies where co-benefits can be revealed is of outmost importance. Building on this, the need to ensure that biodiversity conservation and sustainable use are understood as real options to deliver sustainable development, equity and poverty alleviation has to be emphasized Maria Schultz, Director of SwedBio (currently on leave) and member of the High-level Panel
The scientific article is available for download here.