Biodiversity and ecosystem health are the foundation for sustainable development, playing a pivotal role in securing our common future. Recognizing the importance of financing conservation efforts, Agenda 2030 established Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15.a to mobilize substantial financial resources to preserve and sustain biodiversity and ecosystems. However, the journey toward achieving this target has complexities and challenges. A significant one is the mobilization and alignment of financing – not only sourcing funds, but also ensuring that they are properly directed towards initiatives that protect and enhance biodiversity.
SDG 15.a provides the financial underpinning for the broader aspiration of protecting life on earth embodied in SDG 15. Despite some progress, a significant funding gap remains for biodiversity conservation. Estimated global biodiversity finance currently stands between $78–91 billion annually, falling significantly short of the projected need of $700 billion USD per year identified in the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Moreover, funding for biodiversity conservation competes with subsidies and support directed at activities that harm ecosystems, including industrial agriculture, energy, forestry, and mining.
Despite the gradual increase in international public funding for biodiversity, there are disparities between countries. While bilateral official development assistance (ODA) has risen sharply, domestic funding in several countries has stagnated or declined, exacerbating the global funding gap. This underlines the urgent need for a strategic reassessment and recalibration of financial priorities by governments and underscores the need to increase the use and ambition of biodiversity-relevant economic instruments to effectively achieve conservation goals. A critical gap in Target 15.a is the absence of specific quantitative goals, unlike the target of $100 billion USD agreed upon at the 2009 climate change negotiations. This absence creates ambiguity, leading to concerns about the potential double counting of resources allocated to other objectives and tensions arising from differing interpretations of financial mobilization efforts.
These challenges demand resolution as the global community begins to work on achieving the 2030 goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal GBF. Addressing the shortfall in financial commitments, fostering coherence in funding strategies, and delineating a universally accepted quantitative target for resource mobilization are imperative steps. Addressing the gap in SDG 15.a, Target 19 of the GBF aims for the mobilization of $200 billion annually for biodiversity from all sources, including $30 billion through international finance. Collaborative efforts among countries, multilateral institutions, private actors and civil society will be needed to bridge the gap between aspirations and reality. Creating innovative financing mechanisms, providing incentives for sustainable practices, and redirecting subsidies away from harmful activities and towards financial incentives for practices that benefit biodiversity will encourage more sustainable behavior.
In conclusion, while the commitment to mobilize financial resources for biodiversity conservation and sustainability is clear, realizing this ambition requires collective and concerted action. It requires a paradigm shift in financial priorities, a recalibration of resource allocation strategies, and a shared commitment, including from the private sector, to safeguard our planet’s biodiversity for present and future generations.
Navigating Financial Pathways for Biodiversity Preservation
Securing the right funding is of paramount importance in the quest to protect our planet’s biodiversity. Our advisory services specialize in navigating these complexities and bridging the gap between aspiration and reality. By leveraging collective efforts and innovative mechanisms, we work toward aligning financial priorities and directing resources to achieve sustainability. Contact us to embark on this critical journey together, paving the way to achieving the SDGs and fostering a healthier, more vibrant planet for present and future generations.
Written by Frédéric Perron-Welch, Head of Climate and Nature Policy from the Green Initiative Team.
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