The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund: Mobilizing Billions of Dollars to Protect Nature

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the closing plenary
Vancouver, Canada
The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund: Mobilizing Billions of Dollars to Protect Nature

The CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, announced the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund this week in Vancouver, Canada, which will serve as the largest financing entity for protecting biodiversity projects in the world, with support amounting to $10 billion from participating countries.

This came during the activities of the Seventh Assembly of the Global Environment Facility, which brought together environmental leaders from 185 countries in Vancouver, Canada, from August 22 to 26, to support the preservation of the global environment.

Rodriguez said during the press conference that participants in the Fund have an ambition to mobilize $200 billion annually by 2030 to fund biodiversity.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the closing session of the Assembly today that the launch of this fund is an important step to protect biodiversity, which is why Canada will make an initial contribution to the fund of US$200 million.

He continued, "Climate change has caused extreme events and disasters globally, and in Canada, we have seen how this caused recent forest fires, so we must work to protect nature and join hands."

Meanwhile, the UK government has pledged US$10 million, as an initial contribution.

"Our initial contribution to the Global Biodiversity Fund demonstrates the UK's continued commitment to protecting the natural diversity of our planet," British Minister for Nature Trudy Harrison said in a press release.

She added: “More than half of global GDP, or $44 trillion, is related to biodiversity, which is why the Kingdom fulfills its commitment to spend £3 billion on protecting, restoring and sustainably managing nature, as part of its £11.6 billion International Climate Finance Pledge.”

Hugh Tom Bowie, an official at the Global Environment Facility Council, said during an interview with Ozone that the Biodiversity Fund is the first fund specifically dedicated to financing biodiversity protection projects, and will work to coordinate efforts among participants and direct funding to protect nature.

He added, “The fund is strongly interested in the initiatives of the indigenous people and will allocate about 20% of its funding resources to support their initiatives, as well as the voices of youth, small island states and developing countries.”

He continued, "Protecting nature will reflect positively on our health, our social life and our economy, so we must join hands."

David Cooper, Acting Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, said the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund was essential to preserving the web of life on Earth, as countries need the financial resources to achieve sustainability and implement policy measures and concrete actions to deliver results.

He added during his speech: “The fund provides an opportunity to receive funding from all sources, and to increase the speed of its channeling and disbursement, while enhancing the access of indigenous peoples and local communities to it according to their own priorities, and it will also provide the required support to developing countries and residents of small island states."

Reactions to the launch

At the same time, many international organizations welcomed the establishment of the fund. Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that the new fund is an important part of climate action, as agri-food systems need large financial resources to be able to implement solutions.

“More than half of the targets contained in the Kunming-Montreal Biodiversity Framework relate directly to the agri-food sectors, and the FAO has been mandated to oversee four main indicators, which are ecosystem restoration, fish stocks, sustainable agricultural areas, and management. responsible for forests," she said in a press release.

She continued, “The importance of biodiversity in agri-food systems cannot be underestimated, and it is an indispensable component of food security, sustainable development, and agricultural stability."

Wildlife Conservation Society President Monica Medina said that this new fund will focus on investing in projects that will change the course of nature for the better, help address the climate crisis, and prevent future pandemics. These goals are no longer a luxury, but a necessity for living, she added.

In the same context, several countries announced during the Assembly the launch of the Nature Crime Alliance, which was co-founded by several entities, including the US government, Norway and Gabon, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the Global Environment Facility. It aims to combat criminal practices that harm nature, such as cutting trees, wildlife trade, and land abuse.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, the degradation of ecosystems could lead to an annual loss of US$2.7 trillion in global GDP by 2030. It is also estimated that more than a million species are threatened with extinction, according to the United Nations.

The meeting comes eight months after governments endorsed the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, in which the United Nations called for contributions to help protect 30% of land and coastal areas by 2030.

One of the framework's 23 goals is to help mobilize public and private actors to channel $200 billion annually into conservation initiatives by 2030, with developed countries contributing at least $20 billion of that amount each year by 2025.

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 Ozone on August 26, 2023 and has been translated from Arabic and lightly edited for length and clarity.

Banner image: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the closing plenary / Credit: IISD Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

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