05/16/2023

Ten years of designing and implementing biodiversity finance plans

Mountain landscape covered with forests at sunset

Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) celebrates 10 years: work and achievements

At CBD COP15 in Montreal, the IKI supported Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) celebrated its 10th anniversary, looking back on the work and their achievements since its inception in 2012. 

A new methodology for national biodiversity finance plans

A fundamental reason for the lack of progress in conserving the ecosystems around the world is a large gap in available finance, estimated to be between 598 and 824 billion US-Dollar per year.

The UNDP-managed Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), supported through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), was launched in 2012 to enable countries to develop comprehensive financing strategies at national level, utilising all possible sources.

To make financing strategies successful they have to be underpinned by solid baseline information about a country’s biodiversity positive expenditures across the economy, a mapping of incentives with a potential negative impact on nature and an estimate of the financial needs of all national biodiversity goals.

This emerged from the 2018 BIOFIN Workbook, based on piloting in 30 countries. The workbook also includes: Biodiversity Finance Policy and Institutional Review, Biodiversity Expenditure Review, Financial Needs Assessment, Biodiversity Finance Plan and the Final step to implement the Biodiversity Finance Plan and its solutions.

A menu of more than 150 options for financing nature

To select options for inclusion in their biodiversity finance plans, the Catalogue of Biodiversity Finance Solutions was created, based on a global mapping of existing financing solutions. It lists over 150 individual options countries could pursue. It is used as a central tool in the BIOFIN process (to identify, design and implement finance solutions).

A new e-learning module

Since 2019, over 5000 people enrolled in the self-paced e-learning module (en, fr, es, ru) explaining the full BIOFIN Methodology. It is freely accessible for anyone with internet access.

First finance results

Since 2019, participating countries mainly focused on implementing their biodiversity finance plans. National level implementation is at various stages in the 41 participating countries.

Philippines

In the Philippines, BIOFIN helped fill a gap in protected area legislation (2018) and supported the formulation of a US$ 40 million budget proposal for protected areas, adopted late 2019 for the 2020-2 budget. A new app ‘GCash Forest’ was launched with payment platform GCash/Alipay, combining incentives for sustainable behaviour with payments for tree planting, raising over US$ 500,000 in a year and already planted a million trees in cooperation with national NGOs.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka adopted a sustainable finance sector policy led by the country’s central bank and a new system of sustainable tourism certification in 2019.

Indonesia

Indonesia helped secure a US$ 2.7 million investment for a bird conservation centre in the Maluku Islands from Sukuk finance. In Thailand, the island of Koh Tao introduced a new visitation fee starting in April 2022 that could bring around US$ 200,000 per year for coral restoration and waste management.

Thailand

In Thailand, the island of Koh Tao introduced a new visitation fee starting in April 2022 that could bring around US$ 200,000 per year for coral restoration and waste management.

Kasachstan

New legislation was formally adopted on multiple finance solutions in Kazakhstan in 2017 and 2021, including a definition for ecosystem services and natural capital, first time legislation on biodiversity offsets and payment for ecosystem services, and an improved law on protected areas. In Georgia, the Environment Ministry saw a budget increase for biodiversity conservation from US$30,000 to US$270,000 after making a better investment case.

Guatemala

In Guatemala five coastal municipalities increased the funds available for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation and management by over 50% from 2018 to 2019 using results-based budgeting.

Mexico

Mexico successfully re-designed two major environmental funds: a national climate fund (previously not operational and not focusing on biodiversity) that since saw a turnover exceeding US$ 3 Million, with US$ 2 million directed to nature-based solutions for ecosystem resilience, and; a green fund of Mexico City, resulting in a saving of US$ 3 million per year through efficiencies identified by BIOFIN and a more articulated focus on biodiversity.

Costa Rica

A crowdfunding campaign in Costa Rica led by the Vice President raised US$ 1.7 million from public and private organisations and individuals for reforestation.

Zambia

Zambia enacted a national framework for green bonds early 2020 and successfully removed a barrier to unlock investments for conservation by reducing the investment threshold to qualify for green incentives from $500,000 to $50,000 at the end of 2021.

Botswana

Botswana introduced its new protected area fee system that is projected to increase revenue by US$ 1 million per year.

Scaling up

Ireland became the first West-European country to implement the BIOFIN methodology, completing the Biodiversity Expenditure Review and Policy and Institutional Review. Sweden launched BIOFIN in 2022. The GEF has initiated a new programme enabling all GEF-eligible countries to design their national biodiversity finance plan in the coming years, with over 90 countries having signed up. BIOFIN’s core programme was recently scaled up and will run until the end of 2027.

High-level event at CBD COP 15 in Montreal

Steffi Lemke sitting on a desk
Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke was a guest at the BIOFIN Initiative's anniversary event at CBD COP 15 in Montreal.

At CBD COP 15 in Montreal BIOFIN Celebrated the 10th anniversary with high-level delegates and partners from across the world.

In attendance, Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection said, “BIOFIN is an internationally recognized approach developed to allow countries to analyse the finance gap, identify solutions, and then go on to implementing biodiversity finance plans.”

This was confirmed by Philda Nani Kereng, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation & Tourism, Botswana, who shared that, “BIOFIN helped us to find strategy, identify gaps and to develop the biodiversity plan; with interesting solutions with checking the park fees.” A recent update of the protected area fees supported by BIOFIN will significantly increase available revenue for the country.

This was further reiterated by Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Belize alongside Kenrick Williams, Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management, outlining how BIOFIN helped reshape the country’s work on biodiversity: “With BIOFIN, we thought what was important was the institutional architecture. This resulted in the National Biodiversity Office – established in 2020. Through this, we were able to roll out many unique biodiversity finance solutions, for instance co-management agreements in protected areas with NGOs and other partners to help protect and track nature.”

A key highlight during the roundtable discussion that followed was Norway’s announcement to commit US$4 million for 2023, with a possibility to provide a similar contribution in 2024 and 2025.

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