Biodiversity – the combination of ecosystems, species and genetic variation – is being lost at an alarming rate. Scientists speak of a sixth mass extinction, warning that up to 1 million species, out of an estimated 8 million worldwide, are threatened with extinction, many within decades.
These losses have serious implications on the prospects for human development. Every human being is dependent on healthy ecosystems, but rural people in low-income countries are particularly vulnerable to the degradation that we are witnessing.
The level of investments needed to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity is enormous – as is the gap between the needs and the resources that are currently being invested. An assessment published in 2020 estimated this need to be in the range of between USD 722 billion and USD 967 billion per year.
Regardless of how new financing is mobilised, a manifold increase in the amount of international biodiversity finance is needed in developing countries – many of which are key centres for biodiversity – to be able to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity. Meanwhile, there is also a giant finance gap for other environmental, developmental and humanitarian needs. This is certainly the case for climate finance, where sums provided for developing countries’ work on mitigation and adaptation, as well as efforts to address climate-induced loss and damage, neither meet the commitments nor the needs. This underscores the importance of understanding and dealing with biodiversity finance within the bigger picture of development cooperation and financial flows.
Swedish civil society interacts with decision-makers to promote a high level and high quality of biodiversity finance, climate finance and ODA. In this work, clarity on the facts and figures is an important asset for advocates seeking to understand Swedish biodiversity finance policies. This brief intends to give an accessible overview of the commitments, status and challenges of biodiversity finance, both internationally and in Sweden.
Civil society organisations and movements that are working for sustainable and equitable development have important roles to play in influencing the shape of biodiversity finance over the coming few years. This brief shows some aspects to consider in this work, including:
- Increasing the share of biodiversity-related finance that is directly provided to IPLCs, including through their own organisations. This would require adjusting existing delivery mechanisms and allocating more funds to mechanisms that are dedicated to the purpose.
- Improving integration and monitoring, by governments and organisations alike, of respect for human rights and meaningful participation of IPLCs in all biodiversity-related projects, programmes and policies.
- Ensuring that the new reporting framework under the GBF provides guidance on the meaning of “new and additional” financing, and addresses the issues of double or triple reporting of biodiversity finance as climate finance and/or ODA.
- Strengthening integration and synergies between actions under the climate change and biodiversity conventions, while keeping financial commitments and reporting separate and ensuring that climate co-benefits do not have an undue influence on priorities for the allocation of biodiversity finance.
- Increasing the level of gender integration in biodiversity finance, including contributions with gender equality as a principal objective and gender transformative approaches.
- Finding solutions for ensuring that increasing volumes of biodiversity finance do not divert ODA from other pressing development objectives.