COP15: Governments and philanthropies beef up multi-billion dollar donor plan

COP15: Governments and philanthropies beef up multi-billion
dollar donor plan
COP15: Governments and philanthropies beef up multi-billion dollar donor plan

Governments and 11 leading global philanthropies back new initiatives designed to boost funding for nature protection in developing countries

The UK, France, Spain, and Canada are amongst a group of nations that yesterday backed a new Donor Joint Statement designed to better co-ordinate increased levels of funding for nature protection globally.

Announced yesterday on the sidelines of the COP15 Biodiversity Summit in Montreal, the Statement forms part of a package of measures that aim to bring together governments, multilateral development banks, and philanthropic institutions in support of a new 10 Point Plan for Financing Biodiversity, which has been developed by the UK, Ecuador, Gabon, and the Maldives in a bid to increase international development finance for nature.

The Statement was accompanied by a series of new funding pledges from donor countries, including a commitment from the Netherlands to increase its total biodiversity-related development finance by 50 per cent in 2025 to $150m for 2025 and a pledge from Spain to double its international funding for biodiversity, which should see it dedicate at least €550m of its Official Development Aid for biodiversity over the period 2021-2025. 

Meanwhile, Canada said it would provide a new contribution of $350m to support developing countries to advance conservation efforts.

Others reiterated previous funding commitments with the UK confirming it intends to meet its existing commitment of £3bn finance for climate change solutions that protect, restore, and sustainably manage nature from 2021 to 2026, France confirming plans to double its international finance for biodiversity to reach €1bn per year by 2025, and Germany highlighting its plans to increase its international biodiversity funding to €1.5bn by 2025.

In addition, 11 philanthropies yesterday joined forces to form the Protecting Our Planet challenge and pledged to double their support for nature conservation to $5bn, with the potential to increase funding further if the COP15 Summit delivers an ambitious new treaty. 

"A healthy and thriving natural environment underpins the social and economic prosperity of our livelihoods, which is why it is pivotal for the international community to put nature on the road to recovery," said Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey. "The 10 Point Plan provides a clear vision for action, and I welcome the strong response to the plan from the international community with this significant increase in international public finance to protect our planet's biodiversity hotspots."

The new Statement was also accompanied by a series of new nature funding commitments from the UK government and the launch of a new consultation on how to strengthen its biodiversity strategy for UK Overseas Territories.

Donor governments will be hoping the new Statement and co-ordinated funding pledges will help ease a series of deadlocks that are hampering the negotiations in Montreal.

However, the package of measures is likely to spark fresh accusations from developing countries that industrialised nations have provided little new funding commitments and are instead tending to divert previously assigned funds from climate programmes to biodiversity protection initiatives.

Governments from the Global South are also angry at moves by a number of industrialised economies to block proposals for a new dedicated global biodiversity fund.

Consequently, observers have warned that Ministers face a huge challenge to try and broker a sufficiently ambitious treaty that features both a credible target to protect 30 per cent of land and sea by 2030 and new mechanisms for ramping up investment in nature protection and reforming regulations to help reverse the decline in global biodiversity.

The latest news also comes as the UK government appeared to confirm it will not now publish new targets under its Environment Act until next year.

Defra controversially missed a legal deadline to publish the targets by the end of October, arguing it needed more time to assess large numbers of consultation responses on the proposed goals.

The delay sparked outcry from campaigners and a complaint to the Office for Environmental Protection from green groups. However, there had been hopes the targets would be confirmed to coincide with COP15.

But in a Written Ministerial response to a question from Labour's Ruth Jones yesterday, Environment Minister Trudy Harrison said: "We have been considering feedback from Parliamentary scrutiny and from the Office for Environmental Protection on the draft environmental principles policy statement. We hope to agree the final policy statement in the coming weeks, and to publish it in early 2023."

* This article was originally published here