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Demand is high for investment in biodiversity, but finance gaps remain

Representatives from across Europe, Asia and Pacific are encouraging increased investment in nature from both the public and private sectors, with emerging data revealing that significant finance gaps remain for countries to achieve their biodiversity targets.

As the host country for the 5th Biodiversity Finance Regional Dialogue for Europe, Asia and Pacific, held in late-September, Thailand has vast natural resources and rich biodiversity. But the country’s economy relies heavily on nature in sectors such as tourism, food production, and spa and herbal medicine.

“The value of the bio-economy stands at 3 trillion Thai baht (almost US$100 Billion) or 21% of the country’s GDP,” said Chakkrit Parapantakul, the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Thailand Ministry of Finance. Read the full story here.

Episode 1 of the Finance for Nature Podcast

In this episode of the Finance for Nature Podcast we join the annual BIOFIN Regional Dialogue for Europe, Asia and Pacific. We talk to Mabel Niala from the fintech company, GCash in the Philippines and Anabelle Plantilla, the national coordinator of BIOFIN Philippines to discuss the CSR initiative, GCash Forests – which is using a mobile money app to engage users to take steps to be more environmentally friendly and earn points through their app to plant a virtual tree. Once earned, these virtual trees will be planted (as real trees) in the restoration of the Ipo watershed, which provides much of the water for the Philippines capital Manilla. GCash Forests is a partnership between GCash, BIOFIN and WWF. Listen to the podcast below or subscribe here.

Euromoney – special feature on conservation finance
BIOFIN contributed to the comprehensive coverage in Euromoney Magazines' October special issue on conservation finance. Read several feature articles below which include BIOFIN analysis or are related to BIOFIN countries: 

Conservation finance: Can banks embrace natural capital? 
Climate is no longer the only risk in town: thanks to a loud call from the scientific community, nature has finally been given a seat at the table with finance ministers, regulators and central bank governors.

How can we scale up investments towards SDGs 14 and 15?
Part 2 of the feature article above explores other finance solutions such as green and blue bonds, impact investment and the language of finance in the conservation world. 

Conservation finance: Costa Rica costs its success
The Latin American nation has gone all-out to rebuild its natural environment over the last three decades, with great results – now it needs the rest of the world to pay attention.

How Bhutan built conservation finance into its DNA
Tiny Bhutan has a claim to fame as the first and only country that can claim to be not only carbon neutral but dramatically carbon negative. Conservation is wrapped in with the national ideal of ‘gross national happiness’, a pillar of the country’s constitution and fundamental to national planning.

See all the stories in the Euromoney Conservation Finance special issue here.
Overhauling Botswana's 19-year old protected area user fees system

BIOFIN Botswana-UNDP in collaboration with the Botswana Department of Wildlife and National parks embarked on a consultative process and assessment of Protected Area (PA) assets and facilities as well as the services in Chobe National parks, Moremi game reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans, Nxhai pans and Khutse Game Reserve. The Khama Rhino Sanctuary and the Mokolodi foundations were also included as privately-run Protected areas. The tourism industry brings in a substantial amount of revenue for Botswana, as tourists flock to the country for its rich wildlife and ecosystems, many of which are in designated protected areas. However, the fees tourists and locals pay to enter and use protected areas have not changed for almost 20 years. Read the full story here.

Belize is big on biodiversity and big on ambition for biodiversity finance
The Government of Belize launched Phase II of BIOFIN in mid-October, as the program moves into the important stage of implementing finance solutions in the small Caribbean nation. Belize’s economy and population rely heavily on nature and significant parts of the GDP are derived from sectors such as tourism, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. It also possesses fragile ecosystems such as large intact tracts of forest and richly diverse coral reefs.
BIOFIN implementation kick-started in Zanzibar, Tanzania

Tanzania has officially kick-started the implementation of BIOFIN through a pre-inception workshop held in Zanzibar in mid-September. In response to the urgent global need to divert more finance towards global and national biodiversity goals, the overarching objective of BIOFIN is to deliver a methodological framework, facilitating the identification, development and implementation of optimal and evidence-based finance plans and solutions. Read more here.

Biodiversity conservation projects inch closer to Green Sukuk funding

One of BIOFIN Indonesia’s financing solutions is to mobilise finance from the Green Sukuk (Islamic Bond) issued by the Government of Indonesia to fund biodiversity-related projects. A sukuk by design is structured based on a specific pool of assets to ensure the safety of the investment. A closer look into activities under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry reveals that many of projects that support biodiversity, often have minimal underlying assets. BIOFIN Indonesia's work is helping bridge this gap through scouting and preparatory work needed for biodiversity projects to be eligible for the for finance from the Green Sukuk. Read the full story here.

Building strong alliances to create Green Bonds in Ecuador
Officials from the Quito Stock Exchange, the Ministry of Environment and the Internal Revenue System have collaborated to strengthen the technical capacities of these institutions to link financial products such as green bonds with tax incentives. This alliance seeks to protect and conserve the environment.

The issuance of green bonds – for the first time in Ecuador – will contribute to biodiversity conservation through corporate investments and financing in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects, supporting economic resources that will result in the decarbonization of the economy, which in parallel benefit biodiversity conservation. Read the full story here.

Chile remains a leader in biodiversity finance in Latin America
In Chile, as BIOFIN comes to a close, it has been highly recognised by a range of stakeholders in environmental and conservation work at the national level. There have been many achievements such as supporting the planning and costing of the National Biodiversity Strategy (ENB) 2017-2030; financial support towards the ENB action plan; Defining financing gaps to conserve biodiversity, and estimating public expenditure on biodiversity, and developing the country’s biodiversity finance plan, among others. Read the full story here. Watch a video about new agricultural best practices released in Chile below.
BIOFIN Chile and UNDP in cooperation with the Sustainability and Climate Change Agency has published an Agricultural Best Practices Guide in Chile's first agroecological town, San Nicolas in the Nuble region. The guide aims to help farmers to increase agricultural productivity while maximising positive environmental impacts.
BES-Net holds its 4th Regional Trialogue in Almaty, Kazakhstan
More than 75 key stakeholders from policy, science and practice communities were brought together to deliberate on region-specific challenges and opportunities around the issues of pollinators and land degradation, as highlighted in the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) thematic assessments, and move towards building a common agenda for actions. Read more here.
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