Global Fund Launched to Save Biodiversity

To the applause of hundreds of delegates from around the world, the seventh assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) approved a new fund that will pool resources to meet the major goal of reversing the loss of animals, plants and ecosystems by 2030.

Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, director of the GEF and former environment minister of Costa Rica, celebrated the decision, which he also characterized as "historic". The launch of the fund, officially called the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF), comes after nearly eight months of "efficient and intense" work to establish the fund, Rodríguez said.

Following the approval, which took place on August 24 in Vancouver, it was learned that Canada will provide 200 million dollars for the fund, making it, so far, the only country that has earmarked resources for the fund. The United Kingdom, for its part, pledged to give 10 million pounds sterling, although it clarified that, due to its "fiscal cycles", it cannot yet donate resources.

Other countries, such as Japan, expressed their commitment to the fund, but did not indicate an intention to allocate a specific amount of resources. Despite this, one of the GEF's co-directors explained that they expect the launch of the fund to trigger the investment process.

The fund will be used primarily to enable countries with fewer resources to meet the commitments made at the end of last year in the "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework", the most important agreement in existence to protect the world's biodiversity.

The agreement, which has been characterized several times as "highly ambitious," includes several targets that all countries must meet if they are to halt biodiversity loss. One of them, for example, is target three, which seeks to conserve 30% of terrestrial and marine territories by 2030. Achieving these targets requires money that, as has been repeated on numerous occasions at the Vancouver assembly, is not available today.

How much money, exactly, is needed to protect the world's biodiversity? There are several clues to the magnitude of the challenge, including the figure revealed at the last biodiversity summit: $700 billion more is needed for all countries to meet the ambition required by the new agreement.

Included in the text, then, is that at least US$200 billion per year in domestic and international funding will be mobilized by 2030 and that resources from "developed" to "developing" countries will be increased to at least US$20 billion by 2025, and US$30 billion per year by 2030.

In the report on the ratification of the fund, published in July, it was established that the initial contributions to the fund were expected to be US$200 million from three donors by December 2023. Rodriguez clarified that, for the time being, he estimates that by 2024, with the new fiscal cycles in the countries, more contributions to the fund will be achieved.

"In a year and a half, we will have the first dispersal of resources, which would be done in record time," he said.

This is a summary. Read the full story in Spanish.

This story was supported through Internews’ Earth Journalism Network's Reporting Fellowship to the 7th Global Environment Facility Assembly in Vancouver, Canada. It was originally published by El Espectador on August 24, 2023 and has been translated from Spanish and lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: The fund seeks to contribute to meeting the global goal of conserving 30% of terrestrial and marine territories by 2030 / Credit: EFE - Bienvenido Velasco.

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