2.3.3 Public sector: Promote partnerships between conservation and finance actors

Despite a multiplicity of ministries playing a role in either harming or protecting biodiversity, conservation is often set as a sectoral issue, left under the responsibility of the environment ministry alone. This segregation needs be overcome through a better understanding of the role of biodiversity across government, and reviewing options for closer cooperation. The finance ministry’s direct engagement is a critical building block to make those arrangements workable. Actions include: (1) establishing joint leadership of BIOFIN by the finance and environment ministries; (2) strengthening the capacity of environment and finance ministries on matters related to financing instruments and biodiversity, respectively; and 3) improving existing coordination frameworks by expanding mandates to work on biodiversity finance. Countries have demonstrated that multiple public agencies can effectively lead the BIOFIN Process, for example the Ministry of Finance in Indonesia, the Gross National Happiness Commission in Bhutan and the Economic Planning Unit in Malaysia.

Champions of Change

Congresswoman Josephine Ramirez-Sato is facilitating the approval of new laws in the Philippines. The Expanded National Protected Areas System Bill was successfully amended to increase the number of protected areas from 13 to 107. As a result, new protected areas will be eligible to access public funding in an amount estimated between US$1 million and US$10 million per year. Furthermore, a proposal to allocate a portion of the Malampaya Fund – a Php 193 billion (US$3.6 billion) earmarked oil and gas fund – towards conservation is being considered, while access and benefit-sharing legislation has been drafted to better capture the economic benefit of its genetic resources. Decision makers such as Congresswoman Sato should be involved in the BIOFIN Process from an early stage. They may be former heads of state, ministers, or members of parliament as well as corporations’ and banks’ CEOs. Only decision makers can push for draft laws to be approved, budget proposals to be presented to the Ministry of Finance or a company’s investment to be made. Decision makers’ engagement also enables better alignment of ideas with current priorities, and builds political and societal support required for reforms and innovations.

Former Minister of Finance of Costa Rica Guillermo Zuniga realized throughout his career in the finance sector that more finance is required for conservation. He took up the leadership of BIOFIN Costa Rica in late 2013 and managed to engage effectively with leaders from government organizations and the private sector.