BIOFIN is at 'cutting edge' of field - UN Biodiversity Conference

Rui Silvestre
Rui Silvestre

At the High-Level Plenary of the UN Biodiversity Conference, Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator, highlighted the important role BIOFIN plays in protecting and restoring nature.

“We are now pioneering new ways to channel game-changing levels of finance towards nature and the Global Goals. At UNDP, our Biodiversity Finance initiative -- or BIOFIN -- is at the cutting edge of this emerging field,” said Mr. Steiner.

“It is currently supporting 40 countries to develop and implement “Biodiversity Finance Plans” that will mobilise large amounts of finance towards biodiversity. That includes helping countries to identify & implement the most effective solutions to fund nature: from debt-for-nature and debt-for-climate swaps to “green” and “blue” bonds.”

In response to a question about how UNDP can help countries implement the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, Mr. Steiner highlighted the fact that finance was “at the centre” of the transformation that was needed to save nature.

Mr. Steiner later went on to describe in more detail, at the ‘Ecological Civilization Forum’, how the transformation should look.

“[It] involves aligning our economies & finances with the Global Goals and a “nature-positive” future,” he said.

“Look, for example, to a new UN report which found that nearly 9 out of every 10 dollars spent on agricultural support goes towards activities that can harm our planet. Therefore, we must re-think outdated practices and re-direct financial flows.”

Nature loss poses a grave risk to the global economy and societies. Loss of ecosystem services could cause a decline of global GDP by $2.7 trillion by 2030 with higher intensity of impact in low-income and lower-middle-income countries (World Bank 2021).

There is an urgent need to close the biodiversity finance gap of $ 700 billion per year by redirecting global finance flows from nature negative to nature positive. We need to repurpose $500 billion per year of agricultural subsidies, of which nearly 90% of nature and socially negative (FAO, UNDP, UNEP 2021).

The choice to pursue a sustainable path towards nature-positive economies and lifestyles requires the sustained commitment of actors at all levels and all sectors. This must come from a collective recognition that our societies, economies, and wellbeing are dependent on nature.

“I believe that we are witnessing the emergence of a new “collective will” to protect our planet’s priceless biodiversity,” said Mr. Steiner.

“For instance -- 9 philanthropic organisations have just pledged 5 billion dollars over the next 10 years to protect and restore nature as part of the “Protecting Our Planet Challenge”. With a commitment to ensure that 30% of the planet is protected and preserved by the year 2030 -- this is the largest-ever private funding commitment to biodiversity conservation.”

BIOFIN continues to work closely with governments and partners across the world to find innovative financial solutions that work for people and planet. For more information, visit our financial solutions catalogue.