Biodiversity finance solutions crucial for sustainable development in Latin America

biofin LAC conference

Countries from across the continent to exchange learning and experiences in Colombia

5thBIOFIN Regional Dialogue for Latin America and the Caribbean, 10-14 June 2019

Latin America is leading the way in more sustainable and greener economies through a growing movement for investment in nature and nature-based solutions are a cornerstone in the transformation towards sustainable development and prosperous societies.

While the current levels of finance for achieving biodiversity targets are increasing – there are large gaps – globally and at the national level. In Colombia, one of the most biodiverse nations in the world and heavily reliant on its natural resources, only US$272 million or just 0.12% of GDP is spent or invested annually in biodiversity, while billions of dollars are made from resources nature provides. But several solutions are helping rectify the financial shortfall including biodiversity offsets, forest carbon schemes, more efficient protected area management, and greening the mining and energy sectors.

The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is hosting the 5thRegional Dialogue for Latin America in Cartagena. Experts will present results from BIOFIN and emphasise country experiences in piloting national finance solutions such as scaling up private investment, impact investment, protected area finance, unlocking climate finance and many other mechanisms. These finance solutions help to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services that impact the lives and livelihoods of local communities and underpin broader societal well-being and green economic growth.

More than 10 BIOFIN countries across Latin America will participate in the Regional Dialogue with speakers and experts from across the globe including:

  • Maria Claudia Garcia, Vice Minister, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Luis Alberto Rodríguez, Technical Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance and Public Credit, Colombia
  • Julia Miranda, Director of National Parks, Colombia
  • John Tobin-de la Puente, Professor of Practice of Corporate Sustainability, Cornell University
  • Julia Santander, Managing Director Investments, EcoEnterprises.

There are already signs of traction in implementing finance solutions in several BIOFIN countries in Latin America.

In Cuba, a new standard for environmental accounting was approved – a policy which will allow Cuba to account for revenues and expenditures for biodiversity for the first time. This will be key to operationalize finance mechanisms such as Payment for Environmental Services as well as to reallocate income for biodiversity, including protected areas entry fees.

In Mexico, BIOFIN contributed to foster new partnerships with the Oaxacan Water Supply and Sewage Services Company to expand the National Forestry Commission’s program “Local Mechanisms of Payments Ecosystem Services”. This has led to increased investment for PES in Oaxaca state, one of the most biologically diverse states in the country and resulted in MXN 10 million (USD $532,000) to implement PES in a Protected Area in Oaxaca, to be spent within 5 years in an area of 2,500 hectares.

In Costa Rica, with support from BIOFIN, the National Bank of Costa Rica and the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) signed a Financial Cooperation Agreement to support actions to improve the protected areas entry fee collection system to enable, the issuance of a green bond from the securitisation of future entry fee flows, with the purpose of buying the land from private owners who still own land within protected areas in Costa Rica.

Many other innovative and enhanced finance solutions are in the works across BIOFIN countries in Latin America and the globe. Follow BIOFIN through Facebook and Twitter to find live updates from the Regional Dialogue 10-14th June.