Much more funding is needed for nature-rich countries to make the global deal fly
Ahead of a world summit to agree on a new pact to protect nature which will begin next month, environmentalists have said developing countries will need more funds to implement their goals, calling the $ 10 billion by currently searched for “woefully inadequate”.
Governments are tasked with finalizing an agreement to protect the planet’s plants, animals and ecosystems – similar to the Paris climate agreement – at the UN biodiversity summit due to conclude next May in the Chinese city of Kunming.
A draft biodiversity pact released in July includes a pledge to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030 – but finding the funds to help nature-rich developing countries with conservation is a challenge.
The text calls for “reorienting, reusing, reforming or eliminating incentives harmful to biodiversity”, that is to say things like subsidies for the production of fossil fuels or intensive agriculture.
It also calls for increased investment to protect and restore nature from all sources to $ 200 billion per year, including an additional $ 10 billion in “international financial flows” for developing countries.
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“This is woefully insufficient,” said Brian O’Donnell, director of the US Campaign for Nature, adding that existing funding from rich countries to poor countries was around $ 10 billion.
Doubling that “will not be enough to help the developing world meet global biodiversity goals,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Improving the conservation and management of natural areas, such as parks, oceans, forests and wilderness, is seen as crucial to safeguard the ecosystems on which humans depend and to limit global warming to agreed targets. international level.
Officials told a UN funding forum in 2020 that $ 700 billion a year in additional funding would be needed from governments and businesses over the next decade.
A UN report released in May said global annual expenditure on nature was about $ 133 billion in 2020, with public funding accounting for 86 percent and private funding the rest.
O’Donnell said developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America would need around $ 240 billion a year to meet their biodiversity protection goals and called on rich countries to contribute. $ 80 billion more per year.
“(They) have a moral and economic responsibility to dramatically increase that amount,” he added, citing higher levels of consumption in advanced countries that place more emphasis on natural resources.
About 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction due to the relentless pursuit of economic growth by humans, scientists warned in a landmark 2019 report on the devastating impact of modern civilization on the world. natural.
If ecological tipping points are reached and countries do not invest more in protecting and restoring nature, the world economy would suffer annual losses of $ 2.7 trillion by 2030, the US warned. World Bank.
“The reality is that all funding, from all sources – national, international development aid, private and public – will have to be massively increased,” said Florian Titze, biodiversity policy advisor at the green group WWF-Germany.
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“All funding must be doubled to the absolute minimum,” he said, urging ambitious countries to show leadership by putting solid funding commitments on the table.
China, African countries are pushing for the creation of a multibillion-dollar “global biodiversity fund” to help developing countries meet New Pact on Nature goals, officials said last month. and UN observers.
But many leaders still rely on harnessing natural resources to strengthen their economies, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to lift people out of poverty.
Forests are felled – often to produce raw materials such as palm oil and beef – destroying biodiversity and threatening climate goals, as trees absorb about a third of the global warming emissions produced globally.
All countries should develop and implement “national biodiversity finance plans” that would help them mobilize and deploy the resources needed to end the damage, Titze said.
Policy reforms are also needed to ensure that new funding is not canceled out by spending that harms biodiversity, he added.
A UN report said this week that 87% of global support to agricultural producers – about $ 470 billion a year – distorts food prices and has negative environmental and social effects, often favoring large corporations over to small farmers.
“Political will is essential,” Titze said. “Stopping and reversing the loss of biodiversity is in the best interest (of governments) – and in the interest of society and economies.”
Funding for rich countries under any new nature deal should come in the form of grants and payments for ecosystem services, not vague “financial flows” or loans that will put developing countries further in debt, O said. ‘Donnell.
Indigenous and local communities are also expected to receive a substantial share as they are essential to achieving biodiversity goals but currently receive little funding, he added.
“Frontline biodiversity advocates and communities in and near conservation areas stand to gain direct benefits,” he said.
Much of the proposed $ 10 billion in additional funding is expected to come from governments, said Lim Li Ching, senior researcher at Malaysia-based Third World Network, noting concerns about suggested efforts to “leverage private funding.”
Indeed, investors tend to focus on financial returns rather than rights, biodiversity protection and equity, she noted.
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A goal of harnessing about $ 1 trillion, or 1% of the global economy, to conserve and restore nature would be a good starting point for the biodiversity deal, said Fred Kumah, vice president of the world. global affairs at the African Wildlife Foundation.
Previous plans have failed in large part because funding has failed, he added.
“As the drivers of biodiversity loss are strongly influenced by consumption and production patterns in the global North, it is imperative that (the region) take responsibility for its role (…) by increasing its contributions”, he added.