The BER preparation stage involves a scoping process, a stakeholder assessment, identification of data sources, and the development of a data management system.
The scoping process aims to build products targeted to the main stakeholders and key decision makers and generate the greatest possible ownership and impact. Issues include what dates to cover, organizations to include (especially the private sector), and the level of detail possible for classification and attribution. The inclusion of government spending, NGOs and donors is essential and should not be subject to elimination through the scoping process. Once data collection begins, the time period may change due to a lack of comparable data. Although the CBD’s guidance for financial reporting and resource mobilization requests data collection from 2006, the BIOFIN Process does not require that length of time. The appropriate time period to analyse may depend on national circumstances (e.g. the timing of budget cycles) as identified in the PIR (Chapter 3). The data should include at least the previous five years for which complete data are available, but the longer the time sequence back to 2006, the better the analysis.
It is useful to update and revise the stakeholder consultation plan initially developed as part of the PIR (Chapter 3). Two key types of stakeholders for the BER (that may overlap) are: 1) principal stakeholders and decision makers and 2) organizations from which data is required. For the former (1), individuals and organizations with the greatest influence on public and private biodiversity budget processes, allocations and expenditures should be included (those who have the greatest “power” in the power/interest matrix). The main stakeholders and key decision makers may be in the BIOFIN Steering Committee, the finance ministry, environmental and other key ministries, and national statistics departments, key civil society and private actors such as donors, large NGOs, and some private companies or developers. A subgroup of these key decision makers can be identified as the “client” for the BER—those who have the greatest interest in seeing the results and recommendations—and attention should be paid to ensure their interests and questions are included in the analysis and conclusions. For the latter (2), the list of organizations to be contacted for expenditure data should have been elaborated in the PIR (Chapter 3) and can be adjusted as more information is acquired.
The team should draw on experiences from other environmental expenditure reviews previously conducted in the country, including in other thematic areas such as climate change, poverty, health or education. A scan of data availability, consistency, and the level of detail is required, with the main stakeholders. It should quickly become evident if there are detailed results- or programme-based expenditures or if budgets are only associated with “agencies” or organizations.
Once the framework and targets of the analysis are identified, it is valuable to plan a consultative meeting to validate the scope and build consensus on the definition of biodiversity expenditures, the classification system and the attribution coefficients for expenditures that are only secondarily attributable to biodiversity. The meeting can also cover how the data will be retrieved from both public and private institutions, and resolve any data confidentiality issues. An example of an effective scoping exercise from Ecuador is presented in Figure 4.2, showing the main sources of data disaggregated as recurrent and investment expenses, how the expenditures will be categorized, the dates for data acquisition, and more details.
Figure 4.2: BER Scoping Exercise: Example from Ecuador (Government Information Sources by Sector and Executing Agency)