Call on rich nations to provide $60 bn annually to address biodiversity loss

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Leading environment groups agreed that the US, the countries of the European Union, the UK, Japan, Canada and other wealthy countries should support a target of at least $60 billion annually of international finance for biodiversity in developing countries.

To stop biodiversity loss and achieve a nature-positive economy, this financing effort must be part of a broader and holistic package to close the biodiversity finance gap, including increased domestic and private finance for biodiversity and the elimination of public and private investments that are harmful to biodiversity.

The recommended $60 billion figure was released in advance of a major round of United Nations biodiversity negotiations set to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, this month, an important moment on the road to the final biodiversity summit in Kunming, China, later this year.

In China, delegates from over 190 countries will agree on a global strategy to confront the biodiversity crisis, the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). The biodiversity strategy is considered to be equally important to the fate of the planet as the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Calculated in consultation with leading economists and based on a growing body of economic studies about the benefits of investing in nature protection, the $60 billion figure would help address the disproportionate impact of wealthy country consumption habits on biodiversity.

Research shows that 30 per cent of global threats to biodiversity are generated by international trade, particularly trade in commodities produced in developing countries for use in developed countries.

Wealthy countries, including the European Union countries, the UK, France and Canada, and philanthropists have announced increased funding for biodiversity in recent months, but the environmental groups are calling for increased ambition to reach the $60 billion target.

This amount is limited to international finance for biodiversity, funds sent to developing countries from developed countries, and does not include the funding that countries and private funders must spend to address biodiversity domestically.

The overall need to address the biodiversity crisis is estimated to be $844 billion annually, which is $711 billion more than is currently being spent.

Less than $10 billion of current spending is international biodiversity finance.

Scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, released on Monday, said human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks.

“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”

The organizations standing behind this call for finance include: BirdLife International, Conservation International, Campaign for Nature, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, Rainforest Trust, Wildlife Conservation Society, WWF and World Resources Institute.

The call for wealthy nations to address biodiversity loss came amidst the undergoing fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA5) in this beautiful Kenyan city with the presence of environment ministers and other representatives from over 150 nations with high hopes to advance a global agreement on plastic pollution, among a series of draft resolutions on biodiversity and health, green economy, and circularity.

(Vishal Gulati can be contacted at vishal.g@ians.in)

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