In less than a month, about 10,000 participants, including representatives from country parties, observer countries, international organizations and other interested parties will meet in Cancun for the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 13). Participants will negotiate agreements and commitments to catalyze the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as concrete actions to improve implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets.
A central theme of the Conference will be mainstreaming and the integration of biodiversity within and across relevant sectors, with emphasis on agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism. The objective will be to facilitate formal adoption of a declaration on biodiversity mainstreaming, which will be written into the ministerial declaration. Mexico recently circulated a draft declaration outlining some possible elements of the decision.
Development bank investments provide a unique opportunity to support countries to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into economic sectors (e.g., soil conservation in agriculture, sustainable harvesting in forestry or fisheries). The safety net role of our natural capital is of particular significance in the context of climate change, helping to build both ecological and social resilience. In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), where the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) works, biodiversity generates a wide array of ecosystem services that have direct, indirect-use, and non-use values that are not internalized by agents through prices. As a result, these services are neither fully mainstreamed into economic sectors nor protected from degradation (e.g., water pollution, deforestation from road expansion on marginal lands). This represents a missed opportunity in terms of natural capital as a competitive advantage for LAC’s development.
In past work on biodiversity and ecosystem services, the IDB and partner clients have demonstrated the capacity to mainstream, as well as highlighted the potential to leverage and scale-up these activities to address diverse development challenges, from individual operations in protected areas to thematic operations where biodiversity is a component of numerous sectors in both rural and urban landscapes. With the establishment of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (BIO) Program in 2013, the IDB went a step further. A key mandate for the BIO Program is to assess and integrate the economic value and importance of biodiversity and ecosystem services into strategic economic sectors, infrastructure and productive sectors. The initiative focuses on mainstreaming natural capital throughout IDB investments in LAC and across the project cycle. In this area, the program has embarked on a dual approach:
- conduct cross-cutting training courses to build the technical capacity of the Bank and counterpart institutions to more consistently integrate the economic value of natural capital into the design and evaluation of Bank operations;
- support innovative pilot projects to provide practical applications of the integration of the economic value of natural capital into the Bank’s own project cycle.
At the COP, the BIO Program will host a side event and present these pilot projects demonstrating how natural capital can be integrated into economic sectors within the real world context of a development bank’s operations. Presently, the BIO Program supports several pilot projects to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into IDB operations and policies. This multi-sector approach includes partners from within the Bank working in transport, agriculture and environment, water and sanitation and gender. The BIO Program has also produced a series of manuals and replicable methodologies (such as Natural Capital and Roads and Upscaling Silvopastoral Systems in South America) to mainstream biodiversity into different productive sectors, as well as toolkits and maps to inform conservation planning.
Major financing institutions, including multi-lateral and bi-lateral organizations, have identified biodiversity mainstreaming in key economic sectors as the next frontier for achieving sustainable development goals. Through their leadership and convening roles within the donor community, complemented by access to trust funds and lending resources, development banks have a key role to play in helping countries internalize natural capital into national development, shifting responsibility and ownership for conservation and sustainable use from solely environmental ministries and authorities to those institutions in charge of finance and economic sectors, including private sector.
The IDB in cooperation with KWF will hold a side event, Biodiversity Mainstreaming in Latin America and the Caribean: A Perspective From Development Banks, at the Conference of the Parties COP 13, 7th of December in Cancun, Mexico.
#Maintreamingbiodiversity, 23 days to the #COP13
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