Gabon is a small country in Central Africa and covers an area of 267,667 km2. It is crossed by the equator and enjoys a hot and humid climate. The country is bathed by 800 km of coastline and 88% covered by forests sheltering an exceptional biodiversity.
Gabon is one of the few countries that is a net carbon sink. Gabon's long-standing efforts to preserve its natural lands and waters make the country a critical part of solving the two global crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. Ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity have been preserved due to low deforestation rates. Its significant forest cover makes it the country's main ecosystem with a diversity of natural environments, a rich and varied fauna (nearly 85,000 forest elephants), a diverse avifauna (more than 600 species) and a surprising flora (more than 65,000 specimens) that has not finished being classified. Fish stocks are just as abundant as those of forests.
However, some sectors, due to their operating system, have undeniable negative impacts on biodiversity, particularly the forestry, mining and agricultural sectors.
It is in this context that Gabon has committed to promoting sustainable development through the Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan and to preserving its biodiversity, by adhering to the new Kumming Montreal global biodiversity framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted in Montreal in December 2022. Until now, Gabon has managed to preserve its natural ecosystems, both land and sea, thanks to its conservation policies. A legal framework for biodiversity has been put in place, including the adoption of the Sustainable Development Act in 2014.
Moreover, in terms of mobilizing funding in line with biodiversity, Gabon mobilizes very little with regard to its conservation policies. Several initiatives are launched in silos and are insufficiently coordinated on the basis of a real strategy. Several instruments used, i.e. results-based payments, grants, environmental taxation, blue bonds, have not yet yielded the expected results
Also, to support Gabon in this conservation momentum and meet this financing challenge, the Global Initiative for Biodiversity Finance (BIOFIN) represents a great opportunity for the country. This initiative has been set up and represents a global partnership managed by UNDP, with the support of its Donors. This follows the explicit request of the Gabonese government to integrate this initiative and implement the BIOFIN methodology.
To date, the UNDP country office in Gabon has finalized the recruitment of the team that supervises and leads the BIOFIN programme. In addition, the launch of the project was carried out on August 2023.