By Shadrack Nyakoe
With global biodiversity loss at dangerous levels, 139 countries have received a lifeline to fast-track efforts to conserve, protect and restore species and ecosystems as soon as a new global accord currently under negotiation is approved. The new financing from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), totaling $43 million, will give developing countries the means to quickly put the anticipated Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework into practice and make headway towards the goal of halting and reversing species loss this decade.
Supported with technical expertise from the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the participating countries will be eligible for new grants of $300,000 for work to analyse and align their national policies, targets, finance and monitoring systems to take effective action on global threats to biodiversity.
“As we celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity, this commitment shows that the world is united in recognizing the urgent need to end the destruction of nature and the loss of the services it provides,” Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity said. “This early action will prepare Parties to mobilize for the action that all sectors of society will take to make these aspirations a reality in the 10 years ahead.”
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a ten-year plan to halt the increase in the rate of extinctions and bring 30 per cent of land and sea areas under protection, is expected to be agreed by the 196 Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity when they meet in Kunming later this year.
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF said it was critically important for all countries to be ready to act quickly once the new framework is approved.
“Setting our aspirations is only a first step, and this coming decade requires us to sprint,” Rodriguez said. “Recognizing the intense pressures on developing countries as well as their unprecedented commitment to change the trajectory of biodiversity loss, the GEF is making these Early Action Grants available even before the new global accord is agreed. Countries can use this “fast track” financial approach to update their biodiversity strategies and build capacities to deliver in the GBF. We stand ready to continue to help stewards of globally-important biodiversity elevate nature in their planning and quickly scale up efforts that together can turn international goals into reality.”
“The Global Biodiversity Framework represents a critical opportunity to set our planet on a new course,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said. “But the global pandemic has left us with no time to waste. This joint initiative to accelerate preparedness by national actors shows that together, we are ready to put nature at the heart of decision-making about our shared future.”
“We need to create a planetary safety net by putting nature at the heart of our global, national and local economies and development frameworks. Nature underpins half the world’s jobs and livelihoods, is the foundation for national food and water security, and is essential for tackling our climate crisis. Investing in early actions on nature is a triple win for people and the planet,” stated UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner.
The Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is currently in its final negotiation stages, with the fourth and final meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on the Framework to be held from 21 to 26 June in Nairobi, Kenya.