Seven Reasons to be Hopeful: How CSF Can (and will) Support Seven Targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework
I recently returned from my first Conference of the Parties (COP) from the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that took place in Montreal, Canada. I was inspired by the events I attended, the positivity and hope surrounding our meetings and objectives, and by the final agreement on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). I can only imagine what it must have taken to get 190+ countries to agree on the 23 targets in those final few hours of the conference. All the targets are key to stopping and reversing the current ongoing mass extinction due to global economic growth, but there are certain targets that are more meaningful for an organization like ours — one that focuses on incorporating conservation economics into environmental and development policy and planning.
One of the big takeaways from the meeting was the emphasis on financing — how much will it cost to implement and achieve the GBF, and who is going to pay for it? Making the economic case for nature and the multiple benefits society receives from her is a critical step towards accessing that financing, whether from the government, philanthropy and/or industry.
There are seven targets within the GBF where Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) can provide crucial support.
Targets 2 & 3: Ecosystem Restoration and Protection
CSF is actively supporting the GBF’s ambitious Target 3 to effectively protect 30% of the planet by 2030 (i.e. 30 x 30). Understanding how those protected areas will contribute to the livelihoods of communities and the national economy will be critical for crossing that finish line. We are working alongside several partners such as The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, and Global Environment Facility on the economic analysis to support this target.
Target 2 specifies that 30 percent of degraded areas are under effective restoration, but a greater understanding of the costs and benefits associated with restoration projects will be critical to attract funders and investors. Cost-benefit analyses are a familiar tool to economists and policy makers alike, and we have recently expanded our expertise to include the investment readiness and feasibility of restoration projects.
Targets 5 & 9: Sustainable and Responsible Management of Wildlife
For many countries, especially developing countries, wildlife plays a key role in local economies in sectors such as tourism, fisheries, subsistence consumption and trade, among others. The illegal trade of wildlife is an area fraught with conflict, organized crime, and other harmful impacts. Often the potential value of wildlife is undercut by the perceived or real high opportunity costs of those who are living in poverty or are not directly benefiting from the wildlife economy. It is not only important to understand the benefits of wildlife in relation to the well-being of local communities, but to understand the distribution of those benefits. CSF is working to demonstrate the economic net benefit of protecting wildlife to different stakeholders, in regions such as Southern Africa, where our analyses demonstrate why curbing illegal wildlife trade is good business for both nature and society.
Target 14: Valuing Biodiversity
Target 14 is one of the most important targets of them all. How the multiple values of biodiversity are integrated into all aspects of government planning, budgeting and how businesses operate will be a key factor of success. We are already working on aspects of natural capital accounting with governments, and recently worked on a report to integrate biodiversity values into cost-benefit analyses across USAID initiatives. Businesses and governments are starting to realize the importance of nature as it relates to national economic output and the sustainability of their businesses, and therefore our expertise on natural capital valuation can be catalyzed through the need of the implementation of this target in different sectors of society.
Target 18: Reduce or Reform Harmful Incentives
Target 18 aims to reform, and ideally eliminate, perverse subsidies that create or exacerbate market failures. CSF is all about aligning incentives and empowering people using robust data, analysis, and economic tools to make better choices. CSF has been designing payment for ecosystem services programs for decades, but globally there is much more of that work needed to meet our GBF targets. Let’s work together to redirect harmful subsidies into powerful incentives for better stewardship of our limited natural resources.
Target 19: Show me the money
Is there a huge opportunity to attract investment into biodiversity and natural capital conservation and restoration from the private sector? Can philanthropy and development bank financing leverage some of those funds? Of course, but it will also require the political will and subsequent funding from all governments to prioritize nature in the budgeting process. Through CSF’s world class leadership in ecosystem services valuation, we can help demonstrate how the target of mobilizing at least $200 billion US dollars per year is a good social and environmental investment at different geographical and temporal scales.
Reasons to be hopeful
Whether by valuing biodiversity or using economic analysis to make better development decisions, Conservation Strategy Fund’s expertise will be needed to meet these GBF targets and to protect our world from the devastating consequences of an unchecked climate crisis.
After 25 years as leaders in this space, some of our founding principles of reforming harmful development incentives in biodiverse regions such as the Amazon and supporting countries’ efforts to establish and fund protected areas, have been highlighted in much of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.
While there are many great threats to nature still at play, this historic step in the right direction will lead to levels of collaboration, creativity and change that we have been hoping for many years. CSF and our partners are committed to meeting these challenges with smart, data-based solutions that protect nature and people.