Ministers and experts debate better financing for nature

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Chennai, India — BIOFIN member countries, government representatives, private sector, experts and academics from more than 35 countries gathered today to debate and mobilise more finance for the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources around the world. 

Well financed, sustainable biodiversity underpins key services in our societies, the well-being of local communities and assures continued economic growth for countries. But species loss, ecosystem destruction and large funding gaps are crippling efforts to sustainably manage key natural resources.

"We all live in the one interconnected earth. More needs to be done to protect biodiversity, sustainably manage resources and equitably share the benefits biodiversity brings," said Congresswoman Josephine Sato from the Philippines in her opening remarks.

Understanding and integrating the real value of biodiversity and ecosystem goods and services, and the real costs of losing them, into markets and governmental fiscal and development planning systems is a key result of the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) – the organiser of the 3rd Global Conference on Biodiversity Finance, with the Government of India.

"India currently spends about US$ 2 billion per year on biodiversity conservation efforts but the country requires between US$ 5-15 billion more every year to meet its biodiversity conservation targets," said Yuri Afanasiev, United Nations Resident Coordinator for India.

"BIOFIN has highlighted our key challenge of building partnerships across sectors, countries, ministries, UN conventions and agencies, and through blended finance and the harmonization of policy," he said. 

Expanding the range of finance solutions to countries to better value, capture, and effectively spend financing for nature is a focus of the conference and imperative to achieving conservation targets. 

Solutions are wide ranging from traditional mechanisms such as taxes, subsidies and payment for ecosystem services (PES) to innovative instruments such as impact investment, crowd funding, and green lending. 

BIOFIN implementation is identifying and supporting revenue streams from biodiversity-positive actions that generates increased private sector investment.

But Ms Namita Vikas, Chief Sustainability Officer, Yes Bank in India, said investments in this critical area need to be accelerated. 

"Roping in the private sector and the quantum of investment are so huge that multi-actor action is needed and mainstream finance players need to be brought in. It is very evident biodiversity finance is an untapped market and ready to be tapped. There is a huge gap but there is a huge opportunity. It's time for private capital to step in and play its part," she said.