Six new countries joined the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) in early 2014. After wide-ranging national consultations, a number are already using the BIOFIN methodology to build secure financial, institutional and policy bases for action on biodiversity conservation.
Guatemala was one of the six, joining BIOFIN in July 2014. Since then the country has built it’s national BIOFIN team, kicked off its national evaluation of institutional and policy drivers for biodiversity and begun mapping existing biodiversity related expenditures.
‘Guatemala is a top global biodiversity hotspot’ said Oscar Villagrán, BIOFIN Team Leader in Guatemala.
‘Our Biodiversity is vital for lives and livelihoods and it brings in significant revenues through eco-tourism. Thanks to some great work with the Government, partners and donors, we’ve built up our team fast and are looking forward to working well through the BIOFIN methodology’.
Guatemala’s new BIOFIN Board of Directors includes high-level representatives from the Ministry of Public Finance, the Ministry of Environment, the National Secretariat of planning and budgeting and the National Council of Protected Areas.
The BIOFIN technical team is also up, running and coordinating with major national partners that work in areas related to biodiversity conservation as well as major international non-governmental organisations operating in the country such as The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund alongside Guatemala’s. The BIOFIN team is also working with Guatemala’s National University and a range of private institutions.
Despite political changes in Thailand, consultations on building the BIOFIN platform are well underway with the country’s National Economics and Social Development Board. The BIOFIN Steering Committee for Thailand is ready to go and is made up of representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Bureau of Budgets.
The BIOFIN work in Thailand will build on the country’s extensive experience of expenditure reviews related to climate change and will place a strong focus on sectoral analysis, potentially including the agricultural sector and disaster risk reduction and preparedness.
‘Despite political uncertainty in some countries and other challenges, all six of the newest BIOFIN nations have completed negotiations with the host governments and consultations with key stakeholders. They’re all well underway in building their teams’ said Yves De Soye, global BIOFIN project manager.
‘We couldn’t have done this – and all the work planned - without the generous support from Germany and all our donors’ he added.
Germany pledged an extra 5 million Euro to BIOFIN in December 2013 to support the Initiative’s expansion into seven new countries. Six countries have already joined formally. They are Colombia, Guatemala, Fiji, Mexico, Thailand and Zambia.
The additional funds from Germany are also helping boost cooperation with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity to allow more countries to benefit from the BIOFIN resource mobilization tools through global and regional support.
Joint events have already included the day-long 'Transformative Initiatives in Biodiversity Mainstreaming and Financing’ event at the 12th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity on October 16th.
The event brought policy-makers and practitioners together to showcase interconnected initiatives that aim to mainstream biodiversity, ecosystem services and their values into policy frameworks, accounting systems and budgeting processes.
Other planned initiatives with the Secretariat to the Convention on Biological Diversity include joint training sessions and workshops on National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, resource mobilisation for biodiversity and technical conferences at the global, regional or national levels.
The addition German funds will also support new activities in eight existing BIOFIN countries as they progress with the BIOFIN methodology. BIOFIN has been extended to December 2016 to complete the new activities.
The Biodiversity Finance Initiative helps countries build a secure, financial, institutional and policy base for action on biodiversity conservation.
The initiative is managed by the United Nations Development Programme, in partnership with the European Union and the Governments of Germany and Switzerland, who support the initiative with a total of USD 15 million. The Global Environment Facility finances parallel projects that support countries to revise their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans.
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