7.1 Sustainability of the BIOFIN Process

To match a country’s financial biodiversity needs, a long-term commitment is required, often crossing multiple political and public planning cycles. For transformational change to happen and last, the BIOFIN function needs to graduate from aidfunding and become embedded into government and private sector structures. Institutionalization aims for this transition. The guiding question is: How can we ensure the BIOFIN Process continues once BIOFIN concludes as a project?

Institutionalization is not limited to integrating results into the institutional framework. It is much broader, happening in parallel across three levels:


The normative framework (laws, policies, plans and budgets) consists of all existing policies and laws as well as codified public finance management practices. This is the highest level of institutionalization achievable by BIOFIN in the short to medium term. It deals with reshaping national development priorities to include biodiversity in the medium and longer term. Work in this area can be divided into amending formal documents (policies, plans, budgets, etc.) or practices connected to their implementation (enforcement, accounting, reporting, etc). All BIOFIN Phase I reports should help identify gaps in the normative framework and possibly suggest an action agenda to address them.


The organizational framework includes organizational mandates, structures, capacities and the way they are interlinked. Gaps and inconsistencies are likely to be identified throughout the BIOFIN Process. BIOFIN teams should advocate for capacity enhancement and institutional coherence on a needs basis or in the context of a specific finance solution. Even a small amendment in an organizational mandate (such as adding functionalities related to biodiversity finance), the refinement of responsibilities of a unit or division, or the terms of reference of a certain critical post, can make a difference. For example, many environment ministries lack finance and economy professionals who could spearhead the implementation of multiple finance solutions.


In the realm of dynamic relationships, effectiveness, engagement, trust-building and cultural change (perceptions of stakeholders and decisions makers, behavioural and attitudinal changes matter. Normative and organizational reforms need to be underpinned by a broad-based change in perceptions and behaviours. BIOFIN teams can support behavioural change through capacity development, empowerment, and awareness and advocacy campaigns. This process must include effectively managing and addressing resistance to change.


Institutionalization by Design: Belize

Belize opted for an implementation structure featuring the creation of two new government positions within the core National BIOFIN Team. As members of the team, the officials took part in each step of the BIOFIN Process. The two posts will be retained and funded by the Government of Belize once the UNDP-BIOFIN project ends. This ensures critical capacities are built into the leading agency, a guarantee of contribution beyond a project’s life cycle.

The following sections presents proven and innovative strategies for BIOFIN institutionalization at all three levels.