- The Fifth Global Biodiversity Finance Conference is being held in Cape Town, South Africa, with the aim of addressing the significant biodiversity financing gap, which according to a 2020 study, stands at over $829 billion per year. The conference brings together more than 180 experts and government members from over 45 countries.
- The conference emphasizes the need for innovative financial solutions to tackle biodiversity issues, such as water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, poaching, and funding for protected areas, particularly in biodiversity-rich countries like South Africa. This includes engaging the finance sector, encouraging positive incentives, impact investment, repurposing harmful subsidies, and promoting community engagement.
- Calls have been made for action from all stakeholders – including the government, the private sector, and local communities – to share the responsibility of conserving biodiversity and closing the financing gap. Particular attention has been drawn to the link between biodiversity and climate financing, opportunities to repurpose harmful subsidies, and the need for significant reform of global financial systems.
The Fifth Global Biodiversity Finance Conference, hosted by the United Nations Development Programme’s Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP-BIOFIN), is currently underway in Cape Town, drawing more than 180 experts and government members from over 45 countries. The conference aims to address the critical biodiversity financing gap, which according to a 2020 study by the Nature Conservancy, Paulson Institute and Cornell University, stands at over $829 billion per year.
The event, running from 9 to 11 May 2023, focuses on several opportunities to finance biodiversity, including finance sector engagement, positive incentives, impact investment, repurposing harmful subsidies, and community engagement.
“We’re honored to share our hard-learned strategies on finance and conservation,” says Nokutula Mhene of BIOFIN South Africa, a program that since 2015 has been promoting finance solutions to address ecosystem restoration, protected area management, and sustainable biodiversity use.
Dr. Ayodele Odusola, UNDP South Africa Resident Representative, spoke about the unique challenges faced by South Africa, the world’s third most biodiverse nation, and emphasized the importance of creative finance solutions for tackling issues like water scarcity, loss of biodiversity, poaching, and funding for protected areas.
BIOFIN, a global initiative launched in 2012, is at the forefront of developing and implementing national Biodiversity Finance Plans to transform how biodiversity finance is mobilized and allocated. The initiative plays a key role in helping communities, national parks, private entities, and government organizations to secure necessary financing to meet their biodiversity objectives.
Onno van den Heuvel, BIOFIN Global Manager, notes the success of BIOFIN in South Africa, where they’ve enhanced investments into nature-conserving businesses and facilitated negotiations with investors through a government-owned Biodiversity Investment platform.
The conference also highlighted the urgent need for action from all stakeholders – government and private sector alike – to share the responsibility of conserving biodiversity and closing the financing gap. Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment of South Africa, Barbara Creecy, urged participants to consider three crucial factors: the link between biodiversity and climate financing, opportunities to repurpose harmful subsidies, and the need for significant reform of global financial systems.
UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen echoed these sentiments in her opening message. “Let this not be the third time that we do not meet the global conservation targets. BIOFIN can be the engine that can deliver if we get it right,” she said, emphasizing the importance of effective policies and the role of BIOFIN in enabling them.
For more information, please contact Ntokozo Mahlangu, Communications Analyst, South Africa.
This news article is based on the press release provided by Forestry, Fisheries and Environment on the fifth Global Biodiversity Finance Conference held on 9 May 2023.