Bhutan unveils four BIOFIN solutions to bridge finance gap for biodiversity conservation

Bhutan unveils four BIOFIN solutions
Bhutan unveils four BIOFIN solutions

Thimphu, 22 May 2023: The Royal Government of Bhutan in partnership with UNDP launched four Biodiversity Finance (BIOFIN) solutions today coinciding with the International Biodiversity Day. The finance solutions, aligned with the government’s priorities, are aimed at helping Bhutan to not only protect its rich, prinstine biodiversity but also let it flourish and sustain.

“Such innovative finance solutions, assessed and validated in close collaboration with stakeholders and UNDP will help Bhutan step up conservation efforts and ensure sustainbale utilization of our biological reousrces,” said Lyonpo Yeshey Penjor, Minister for Agriculture and Livestock.

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Khurshid Alam congratulated Bhutan on the launch of the biodiversity finance solutions.

 “Global biodiversity is in crisis. While many financial solutions for biodiversity conservation exist, most countries struggle in accessing these solutions. UNDP’s BIOFIN Initiative works to address this challenge. UNDP remains committed to working closely with the Royal Government in ensuring the finance solutions launched today are successfully implemented,” he said.

“With its extraordinary environmental stewardship and climate leadership, Bhutan is well placed to lead mobilization of political commitment needed to accelerate implementation of Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at the15th Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) held in Montreal last December.”

The sustainable finance solutions have been identified when developing the National Biodiversity Finance Plan - a roadmap towards a greener, safer, nature and society. The finance solutions will not only help Bhutan protect its rich and pristine biodievristy but also create jobs and combat climate change.

Of the four finance solutions launched today, the first one and the second finance solutions - Enhancing Results Based Budgeting Implementation through Ecological Fiscal Transfers and Mainstreaming Biodiversity Finance and Finance Solutions into the Local Government Plans - seek to meet the financing gap for biodiversity conservation at national level through planned intergovernmental fiscal transfers. A revised budget planning will measure government allocation to ensure progress towards biodiversity conservation. The Ministry of Finance will implement the two finance solutions in partnership with UNDP.

The third finance solution- Increased Revenues from Eco-Tourism Fees in Parks and Conservation Areas- will be implemented in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and the Department of Forest and Park Services. It will institutionalize linkage between tourism sector and Protected Areas (PAs) to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability. This will be done through a suite of biodiversity-friendly tourism product diversification and allow PAs to innovate financing mechanisms through various fees, which can be retained or ploughed back into the conservation of PAs.

The fourth finance solution- Redesgining Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) Scheme- will promote community-based biodiversity conservation and curb retaliatory killing of wildlife, poaching and trafficking. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources  will implement this finance solution in partnership with UNDP.

The four finance solutions were launched as part of the second phase of the RGoB-UNDP BIOFIN project. Bhutan was among the first group of UNDP BIOFIN  countries to avail partnership in 2012.

The first phase, implemented from 2012 to 2020, mapped the biodiversity finance challenge. It defined finance needs and gaps through detailed national-level assessments to determine challenges and opportunities for resource mobilization, and to build a sound business case for increased biodiversity investments.

Since 2012, UNDP’s BIOFIN Initiative has been active worldwide to demonstrate how nature positive economies can work for people and the planet. BIOFIN is working with 41 countries, including Bhutan, implementing more than 200 biodiversity finance solutions with a total budgetary impact in the tens of millions of dollars.

“Through the recently signed Global Biodiversity Framework and with the rollout of three Global Environment Facility (GEF) programs with provisions for the creation of biodiversity finance plans, BIOFIN anticipates an expanded coverage to 130 countries beginning in 2023. Bhutan will be an example for all these new countries,” said Andrew Seidl, Senior Technical Advisor with UNDP BIOFIN Global.