Is the world ready to pay to protect nature rather than spend insane sums on destroying it? – finance

The issue is at the heart of international negotiations to better protect nature in Geneva ahead of COP15 biodiversity in China.

The figure is staggering: At least $ 1.8 trillion in government subsidies, or 2% of global GDP, contributes to the destruction of nature each year, according to a study by the Business for Nature coalition. Other studies evoke lower numbers, but agree that the world spends much more on destroying nature, which provides clean air, drinking water or food, than on protecting it. “We are missing data” on the amounts allocated to these harmful grants, such as those spent on nature conservation, notes Juliette Landry, a researcher at the IDDRI think tank. The 196 member states of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet until Tuesday to negotiate a text aimed at better protecting nature by 2030 and the financial resources to be mobilized. This text will be adopted at COP15 Biodiversity this year. “Resource mobilization has become a hot topic at this meeting,” said Ghanaian Alfred Oteng, who has contributed to important biodiversity conservation actions.

Harmful supplements

We need “additional resources from all sources – international, national, public, private – to reduce harmful expenditures (for nature) and make better use of the available financial resources”, sums up Jeremy Eppel, co-author of reports on the subject of CBD . The negotiated text contains quantified objectives: “to redirect, redistribute, reform or eliminate harmful incentives (…) by reducing them by at least $ 500 billion a year”, “to increase the financial resources, all sources combined, to raise them to at least $ 200 billion a year (…) by increasing international financial flows to developing countries by at least $ 10 billion a year “and reducing the funding gap” by at least $ 700 billion a year by 2030 “.

It remains to be seen who pays. For developing countries, an annual transfer of $ 10 billion is insufficient. Guatemala publicly asks for 60 billion. Vinod Mathur, president of India’s National Biodiversity Authority, is developing 100 billion in “new, extra, fast-paced funds”. Without adequate funding, it is impossible to have ambitious nature conservation goals, he argues.

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The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is currently funding biodiversity projects. But developing countries regret its slowness and the low amounts invested. Some call for the creation of a new fund – which would take years, the countries opposed to the idea respond – or at least a reform of the GEF. Rich countries “recognize that further efforts need to be made”, according to one of their representatives, but without complying with the amounts mentioned by developing countries. Mobilizing the private sector more and leveraging the money already available are ways, says the same source. Also discussed are the harmful subsidies that feed intensive agriculture, overfishing, deforestation, fossil fuels … Governments defend them and argue “that they help or target the poor, but (…) the main beneficiaries are often the richest” , says Ronald Steenblik, author of the study for the business coalition Business for Nature. 80% of the fishing aid goes to industrial fishing and not to small fishermen. Reforming them is often a headache because entire sectors of activity depend on them. But the problem needs to be tackled, argues Eva Zabey, CEO of the Business for Nature coalition.

Quite unusually, the Business for Nature coalition, with the support of more than a thousand companies like the NGOs, is asking for an ambitious text. “Businesses need political insurance to invest, innovate, change their business models and fast,” argues Eva Zabey. As is often the case in international negotiations, the issue could only be resolved at home at COP15 in China.

The figure is staggering: At least $ 1.8 trillion in government subsidies, or 2% of global GDP, contributes to the destruction of nature each year, according to a study by the Business for Nature coalition. Other studies evoke lower numbers, but agree that the world spends much more on destroying nature, which provides clean air, drinking water or food, than on protecting it. “We are missing data” on the amounts allocated to these harmful grants, such as those spent on nature conservation, notes Juliette Landry, a researcher at the IDDRI think tank. The 196 member states of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will meet until Tuesday to negotiate a text aimed at better protecting nature by 2030 and the financial resources to be mobilized. This text will be adopted at COP15 Biodiversity this year. “Resource mobilization has become a hot topic at this meeting,” said Ghanaian Alfred Oteng, who has contributed to important biodiversity protection actions. , private -, reduce harmful expenditures (for nature) and make better use of available financial resources “, sums up Jeremy Eppel, co-author of reports on the subject of CBD. The negotiated text contains quantified objectives:” to redirect, redistribute, reform or eliminate harmful incentives (…) by reducing them by at least $ 500 billion a year “,” increasing the financial resources, all sources combined, to raise them to at least $ 200 billion a year (…) by increasing the international financial flows to developing countries by at least $ 10 billion a year “and reduce the funding gap” by at least $ 700 billion a year by 2030 “. left to see who pays. publicly about 60 billion Vinod Mathur, president of India’s National Biodiversity Authority, generates 100 billion of “new, extra, fast funds”. Without sufficient funding ng it is impossible to have ambitious nature conservation goals, he argues. The Global Environment Facility (GEF) is currently funding biodiversity projects. But developing countries regret its slowness and the low amounts invested. Some call for the creation of a new fund – which would take years, the countries opposed to the idea respond – or at least a reform of the GEF. Rich countries “recognize that further efforts need to be made”, according to one of their representatives, but without complying with the amounts mentioned by developing countries. Mobilizing the private sector more and leveraging the money already available are ways, says the same source. Also discussed are the harmful subsidies that feed on intensive agriculture, overfishing, deforestation, fossil fuels … Governments defend them and argue “that they help or target the poor, but (…) the main beneficiaries are often the richest” , says Ronald Steenblik, author of the study for the business coalition Business for Nature. 80% of the fishing aid goes to industrial fishing and not to small fishermen. Reforming them is often a headache because entire sectors of activity depend on them. But the problem must be solved, begs Eva Zabey, CEO of the Business for Nature Coalition, ambitious text. “Businesses need political insurance to invest, innovate, change their business models and fast,” argues Eva Zabey. As is often the case in international negotiations, the issue could only be resolved at home at COP15 in China.

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