1.2 Why Biodiversity Matters

1.2.1 Understanding the value of biodiversity for achieving the SDGs

Why is biodiversity finance a priority? We must examine the true value of biodiversity to ensure nature’s values are adequately reflected in our decision-making. Biodiversity yields both intrinsic and anthropocentric values. Intrinsic values include the right of all species to exist and evolve, and the moral value of respecting nature. Anthropocentric values are what nature produces for humanity. Though no more important than

Box 1.2: How Ecosystem Services Contribute to the SDGs


In 2015, fish provided 3.2 billion people with almost 20 percent of their average per capita intake of animal protein (SDG2). In countries like Cambodia, Kiribati and the Maldives, the fisheries sector contributes over 10 percent of the GDP. Fish is the most valuable agricultural commodity traded internationally, with net export revenues earned by developing countries reaching US$37 billion in 2016 (more than coffee, cocoa, sugar and tea combined).

Yet, around 33.1 percent of global fish stocks are overfished, at the risk of depletion.4


Forestry accounts for more than 10 percent of the GDP in many of the world’s poorest countries. The forestry sector provides formal employment for 10 million people and informal employment for another 30 to 50 million people in developing countries (SDG1). In Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Liberia, forest products make up 30-40 percent of national exports.5

Tropical forest loss is estimated at 7 million hectares per year between 2000-2010.6


Coral reefs are among the most biologically rich ecosystems on Earth7and a key asset for tourism. Occupying less than one quarter of 1 percent of the marine environment, coral reefs are home to more than 25 percent of all known marine fish species.8

In the Maldives, marine and coastal tourism directly accounts for 20 percent of GDP, and its wider effects help produce 74 percent of national income (SDG8). Tourism contributes more than 60 percent of foreign exchange receipts, employing almost 40 percent of the country’s workforce.9

Around 60 percent of reefs are seriously damaged by overfishing, destructive fishing, anchor damage, coral bleaching, coral mining, sedimentation, pollution, and disease.