Communication is essential to all stages of the BIOFIN Process, particularly for implementing the Finance Plan and advocating to implement finance solutions. Many may find biodiversity finance a difficult concept to grasp. The process of aligning the language and expectations of the conservation and finance community is a communication challenge on its own. As each country completes the assessments, key messaging can be formed, audiences identified and reached, and a proper advocacy and communication plan put in place (see figure 2.9).
Stories and messages need to be tailored to the audience and wisely reflect on the purpose of the communication. Warning messages on the tragedy of biodiversity "loss" are likely to require balancing with stories about conservation champions that highlight the value of biodiversity to human well-being, our societies and economies, if the aim is to drive action. The formulation of key messages should not be left until the end of the BIOFIN Process. The PIR may already identify critical issues, policies or opportunities. The BER may expose shortcomings in a country's spending. The FNA can offer a simple bulk figure to inform the Minister of Finance of the magnitude of the need.
Advocating for biodiversity finance means communicating complex messages to multiple audiences. Each audience has a different role and interest and requires different approach. The identification of target audiences for communications and advocacy should be undertaken in a systematic way and is a pillar of any advocacy and communication plan. The most appropriate communication channels should be chosen to deliver key messages to the target audiences, including traditional media, events and digital platforms.
Figure 2.9: Advocacy and Communication
In Thailand, BIOFIN Day 2017 gained the support of a key champion, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, who proclaimed that conservation finance is not just the responsibility of the public sector. Producers, consumers and the private sector all benefit from biodiversity, so should consider investments in protecting and restoring biodiversity resources. The private sector response and commitment was impressive, with several high-profile companies pledging support to the programme and conservation efforts more generally. The events spanned three days, receiving more than 2,000 participants, and encompassed a range of activities including public awareness events with both government and the private sector, and media engagement combined with targeted advocacy towards the private sector. When analysing the impact of the BIOFIN Day campaign, BIOFIN Thailand estimated the total fundraising and PR value received from public-private sectors was US$281,021.