2.4 The Inception Stage

After completing the scan of the biodiversity finance landscape with its key actors, BIOFIN needs to rapidly start to actively empower and engage national stakeholders, the very first steps of building a national coalition on biodiversity finance. This culminates in overarching coordination and management structures, framing a compelling shared vision on how to tackle the biodiversity finance challenges and ensuring the process becomes fully anchored in existing policy, planning cycles and institutional arrangements.

Once they have decided to embark on the BIOFIN journey, the proponents should examine the contours of the biodiversity finance landscape. Ministries of finance and environment should jointly lead this process. This engagement should lead to responding to the following questions:

  • What value would BIOFIN add to the country?
  • Which are the most critical entry points to make a strong case for investing in conservation?
  • How should the BIOFIN methodology be tailored to the national context?
  • Who are the most critical national stakeholders to involve closely?
  • What are the most optimal coordination and management structures to put in place?

These initial questions can be answered by the undertaking the following actions:

  • Conducting a rapid screening of national strategic policies and documents;
  • Developing proposals for the BIOFIN management and coordination structures and team;
  • Organizing the first national biodiversity finance consultation;
  • Incorporating gender considerations in the BIOFIN Process from its inception; and
  • Completing the inception stage once an inception report is produced and agreed among BIOFIN partners and stakeholders.
South Africa Giraphes at Safana, By Biofin UNDP

Bhutan’s Integrated Approach to SDG Implementation

South Africa Water tariff funding for ecological infrastructure By Biofin UNDP

While BIOFIN was designed for biodiversity conservation, we can take a similar approach to additional SDGs. While BIOFIN analysis already touches on other interlinked thematic areas such as climate change, poverty reduction and gender, BIOFIN-like exercises aiming to collect expenditures and financing needs for other SDGs can be easily combined or coordinated. In this way data collection is streamlined and management costs reduced.

The most linear example is the parallel conduction of Climate Public Expenditures and Institutional Review (CPEIR), which took place in several BIOFIN countries. Follow-up work, particularly on budget tagging, can also be aligned. The Governance of Climate Change Finance website provides a summary of climate related work in Asia and the Pacific.10

Bhutan is an example. The Royal Government has prioritized three SDGs: SDG 1 (End poverty), SDG 13 (Combat Climate Change) and SDG 15 (Protect Ecosystems and Biodiversity). This allows for a closer look at how the BIOFIN Process could be expanded to respond to government priorities and cover for SDG 1 and SDG 13 considerations. The government decided to coordinate assessments for SDG 15 (BIOFIN) and SDG 13 (CPEIR), while mainstreaming poverty reduction considerations across both. BIOFIN Bhutan is implemented by the Gross National Happiness (Planning) Commission, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, National Environment Commission, Ministry of Finance, and other conservation partners. The team was led by Lam Dorji, former Secretary of the Ministry of Finance.