TWN Info Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge (Oct12/03)
12 October 2012
Third World Network

North-South divide on resource mobilization

Hyderabad, 11 Oct (Chee Yoke Ling) – Developing countries are pressing for the adoption of specific targets in order to mobilize financial resources to implement the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity in 2010 but developed countries continue to call for data collection and needs assessment.

This is emerging as the central issue at the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD in Hyderabad, India taking place from 8 to 19 October.

In 2008, the COP adopted a resource mobilization strategy to assist Parties in establishing national targets, goals as well as action for enhancing international financial flows and domestic funding for biological diversity. In 2010, the 10th COP meeting could not agree on targets for resource mobilization and deferred the decision to adopt targets to COP 11 based on an assessment and a “robust baseline”. It was also decided that the strategy for resource mobilization should include the elaboration of country-specific resource mobilization strategies in the framework of updated national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

(Under Article 20 of the CBD developed country Parties commit to provide new and additional financial resources to meet the full incremental cost of implementing the CBD.)

As many developing country delegates put it, this is the unfinished task of the Nagoya package adopted in 2010: the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing, the revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) with 20 targets (the Aichi Biodiversity Targets), and the implementation plan for the Strategy for Resource Mobilisation in support of the achievement of the CBD objectives.

Below are the statements from a number of Parties and groupings of Parties made at the COP 11 on 9 October on the agenda item review of implementation of the strategy including the establishment of targets.

Argentina speaking on behalf of Latin America and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC) highlighted the need to enhance the implementation of the Convention in relation to the provision of new, additional, predictable and adequate financial resources from developed country Parties to developing countries, in particular Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States. It said the agreements achieved in Nagoya for a Resource Mobilization Strategy are a milestone in the implementation of this obligation, but much remains to be done to make this implementation effective and to provide the adequate means of implementation for developing countries, in terms of financial resources and transfer of technologies, in order for them to be able to face the incremental costs related to the ambition contained in the Strategic Plan (for Biodiversity 2011-2020) and in the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, as well as programmes of work.

Argentina stressed that Rio+20 reaffirmed developing countries need additional, new and predictable resources to fulfil their commitments so that it is fundamental to further refine the Resource Mobilization Strategy and its targets and to enhance North-South Cooperation, in line with article 20 of the CBD.

It said further that the extent to which developing countries will be able to implement the Strategic Plan and the Aichi Targets and the achievement of the objectives of the Convention shall be subject to the provision of new and additional financial resources by developed country Parties, in accordance with article 20.4 of the Convention. This as well as the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as reaffirmed in the Rio plus 20 Conference should be adequately reflected in the (COP11) decision.

The group also said that national environmental trust funds have developed a strong expertise in managing and funding biodiversity programmes and projects along the last two decades. Those funds must be profited by the CBD as financial tools to complement the financial provisions and mechanism of the Convention.

Kenya on behalf of the Africa Group emphasized the importance and urgency of full implementation of the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, including the agreement of funding targets at COP 11, to ensure meaningful progress towards adequately financing the implementation of the Aichi Targets. It said that while precise figures are not available, existing financial needs assessments from national, regional and global levels already indicate that hundreds of billions of dollars per year are needed to implement the Aichi Targets successfully.

It said further that when Parties began the review of the implementation of the (2011-2020) Plan and progress towards the Aichi Targets on Monday (8 October), statement after statement by developing country Parties underscored the need for sustainable, adequate and predictable additional financial resources.

Kenya said that African governments have made commitments to conserve biodiversity within a framework of sustainable development in line with (1992) Rio Declaration, and to this end, African governments have established ministries and agencies dealing with conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity and resourced them with appropriate infrastructure and staff within available means. Poverty, health, education, HIV/AIDS and climate change among other challenges make it difficult for Africa to achieve conservation and sustainable development objectives. Biodiversity has benefits and costs. The benefits accrue globally and are currently largely shared globally. However, the costs accrue locally and are currently burdened by biodiversity host countries. This puts developing countries in a position where the poor local communities together with their governments maintain biodiversity not only for national benefits but global benefits. Unfortunately, the global community as beneficiaries have not honoured their pledges.

Kenya described how African governments have undertaken to increase domestic biodiversity financial resources, including through increasing national core budgetary allocations to implement the CBD obligations including the Aichi Targets, identifying new ways of raising financial resources, scaling up and mainstreaming biodiversity and financial resources for CBD implementation into all sectors of the economy at all levels; and developing National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPS).

However, Kenya also emphasized the urgent need for the developed country Parties to follow suit and honour their pledges under the CBD especially the Aichi Targets and the associated financial resources that are urgently needed to deliver the set of 20 ambitious targets.

The African Group urged Parties and especially developed nations to subscribe to and promote equity and fairness in sharing benefits and costs arising from biodiversity. Global lack of equity continues to place a burden on poor local and indigenous communities to maintain global biodiversity benefits. Lack of commitment or the lack of will especially at global level means that biodiversity hosts continue to be burdened with biodiversity costs for global services. It is critical that the costs of protected areas are equitably shared.

It urged Parties at COP 11 to set up and honor quantitative targets to fast track the implementation of the strategy on resource mobilization. Referring to the estimates contained in documentation prepared for COP 11, the Group noted said that while there is need to continue to refine the financial targets, it is now common knowledge that the financial gap is huge and without major increase in financing, the 2020 target is not going to be met.

In view of this financial gap, the Africa Group proposed a doubling of biodiversity earmarked financial resource flows from developed to developing countries by 2015 and thereafter 20% compounded annual increases from 2015 to 2020; and increase substantially domestic ear marked financial resource from developing countries by 2015 and thereafter 10% compounded annual increases from 2015 to 2020.

The Philippines expressed deep concern that the draft Decisions ask more and more of developing countries while we are getting deeper and deeper into an eternal mobilization process that produces nothing but the same old recycled ODA. It said that half of the ODA is humanitarian work, another chunk for debt reduction to a few countries, and then charges, etc, which leaves little for concrete action on the ground. And if the ODA is even made available for biodiversity in developing countries, it is seldom that it allows direct access for actual field implementation.

The Philippines stressed that concrete figures must now be put forward for resource mobilization, especially for implementation of NBSAPs and the CBD Strategic Plan 2011-2020. It is important that the availability of financial resources for these activities and targets be predictable in order to undertake long-term actions and programs for reaching the targets in the Plan. These concrete figures are necessary so that the COP will not again face failure like that which occurred for the biodiversity a decade earlier (referring to the failure to achieve the 2010 biodiversity target).

On the work of the high-level panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 the Philippines said that despite the fact that recommendations are considered interim, it supported the retention of the following paragraph in the relevant draft decision:

“[Encourages Parties to consider the [initial findings][recommendations] of the high-level panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 when exploring biodiversity resourcing options and mechanisms;]”

The Philippines stressed that it is the only action-oriented paragraph addressed to the COP that asks Parties to do something about the results of the meeting of the high-level panel. With this paragraph, the results of the work of the high-level panel gets an imprimatur from the COP which gives the high-level panel some further leeway to continue its work. It also said that the choice in the bracketed words “initial findings” and “recommendations” is not an either/or choice, and that that they should be taken together as one and propose that both ideas have to be taken on board by the COP.

[The 11 October non-paper paragraph 39 now reads:

“[[Encourages][Invites] Parties to consider the [initial findings][recommendations] of the high-level panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 when exploring biodiversity resourcing options and mechanisms;] [in particular noting how setting the right enabling conditions can help reduce the overall costs for implementing the Strategic Plan][as appropriate]”.]

India said that resource mobilization is the most important unfinished agenda that we have inherited from COP 10. It said further that without trying to sound alarmist, we wish to highlight at this stage that at this COP, we must collectively agree as Parties to some measures, commitments and targets on resource mobilisation, even if on an interim basis, so as to infuse among Parties as also to generate momentum for implementation of Aichi targets. This is crucial because if we are not able to agree to any measures on resource mobilisation at COP 11, then four out of the ten year period of Strategic Plan would have gone, making it all the more difficult to achieve the targets by 2020. This would be our collective failure.

India pointed out that presently, the international flows for biodiversity directly and indirectly are approximately USD 6 billion, which is about 4.7% of the global ODA of USD 127 billion. It may also be noted that the total ODA in 2001 amounted to USD 79.72 billion and its annual average growth rate till 2010 has been roughly about 5%. In the current decade also (2011-2020), present global economic sluggishness notwithstanding, the ODA is likely to grow at a rate over a period of time.

It highlighted the usefulness of the activities undertaken in the intersessional period. The India/UK sponsored High Level Panel has estimated that the costs for implementing the Aichi targets is between USD 130 billion to 430 billion annually, though coordinated action on the targets is expected to substantially reduce the total estimate. It would welcome broad basing the expert on the panel, and also suggestions on involvement of a large number of Parties.

It also referred to the work of a team of five experts commissioned by the CBD Secretariat with its estimate of USD 74 billion and 191 billion necessary to assist developing countries in achieving Aichi targets, over the period 2014-2018 (this was done for the GEF 6th replenishment and thus restricted to activities and countries that are eligible for GEF funding).

India further stressed that biodiversity being a cross-cutting issue and given the complexity of determining the scope of biodiversity financing from different sources, getting the precise estimate for biodiversity funding is a big challenge. As a result, howsoever well-researched any assessment is, it still cannot be taken as final, and any study can at best be an approximation.

On the preliminary reporting framework it said that given the limited number of Parties that have provided information so far using the framework, and that too is of a preliminary nature, we acknowledge that assessment of biodiversity financing is an ongoing process and more information will be required for establishing a robust baseline. Moreover, we believe that robust baseline is not an absolute concept. Hence, our concern is that waiting until robust data can define an effective reporting framework, as was called for by COP 10, would severely impact attainment of Aichi targets, considering their time-bound nature. Hence, while taking note of the outcomes of various intersessional works and assessments, some interim commitment of funding must be agreed to, which may then be reviewed at COP 12 (in 2014) when more information becomes available.

India also said that while it may be acknowledged that conservation of biodiversity offers tangible economic benefits, it is still a fact that substantial financial investments are required to be made for achieving Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Nearly half out of the 20 targets need high financial incremental investments. It is apparent, whichever estimate one chooses to refer, a huge incremental financial gap exists for undertaking activities related to biodiversity management. Both developed and developing countries could therefore consider increasing their priority for biodiversity in this UN Decade on Biodiversity.

On the proposed recommendations in the draft decision, it was generally comfortable with the elements of the recommendations, in particular paragraph 12 (a) referring to the target on compounded annual increase in international financial flows to developing countries.

India shared its experience in using the preliminary reporting framework to assess funding support for biodiversity conservation in the country. This is the first such attempt, and is primarily based on the data collected from government documents. The aggregation of financial flows for biodiversity in the report may be considered as work in progress, giving only the best estimates, rather than definitive or conclusive figures. As per this study, India has spent an estimated amount of approximately 2 billion USD on biodiversity in the year 2010-11.

Mexico emphasized that the resource mobilization strategy is part of the Nagoya package and it would be a serious mistake to decide that decisions for this need to wait until we get more information. It also warned against creating too much expectation on innovative financial mechanisms.

It said that many countries still talk about ODA used for biodiversity but the strategy never said it was ODA. Mexico reiterated that we need to adopt concrete decisions and pointed to the decision to mobilize USD 100 billion in the climate arena where there was no need for countries to make needs assessment.

Bolivia considered that any work related to the evaluation of indicators and a strategy for resource mobilization should first take into account the need to establish a framework for the understanding of Article 20 of the CBD regarding financial resources in the context of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.

In addition, Bolivia considered that there are a series of outstanding issues that are missing in the conceptual framework of the strategy of resource mobilization and in the preliminary reporting framework because these are only considering public and private arrangements for financing the achievement of the CBD objectives and the Aichi targets. The indicators regarding resource mobilization should be revised and complemented in order to make visible the role of collective action and the efforts of communities, indigenous people, and local populations in the conservation of biological diversity and in the sustainable use of its components.

It said that it is developing a non-market based mechanism in order to reach, through an integrated way, the Aichi targets. This is entitled “Joint Mitigation and Adaptation Mechanism for the Integral and Sustainable Management of Forests and Mother Earth”. This proposal was presented by Bolivia at the COP17 of the UNFCCC in Durban, South Africa, which adopted it for future development. The challenge is create the linkages between this initiative and fair markets of products that come from the management of biodiversity.

Bolivia requested the inclusion to include some additional paragraphs to the draft decision as follows:

  • Promote the development of a framework about what is the right balance with respect to all of the elements highlighted in Article 20 of the CBD on financial resources in light of the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.
  • Incorporates into the strategy for resource mobilization the role of collective action activities undertaken by indigenous people and local communities on the achievement of the CBD objectives. For this a pilot study will be undertaken considering conceptual issues related to institutional economics in the context of a non-market based approach.
  • Encourages Parties to develop a multilateral framework and the necessary institutional arrangements in order to establish the “CBD public procurement scheme” oriented to strengthening integral and sustainable management of forests and ecosystems through community-based management in developing countries.
  • Invites developed Parties and GEF to support with long-term public finance the innovative financial mechanisms of developing countries oriented to improve at the national level community-based initiatives for the integral and sustainable management and better governance of forests and ecosystems, helping developing countries to achieve the Aichi targets in a more holistic manner, including the creation of better linkages between agriculture, forestry and biodiversity.

Brazil warned of the risk of double counting of financial flows from developed countries, stressing that instead the commitments of developed countries under Article 20 of the CBD to provide new and additional financial resources for agreed incremental costs. It noted that there has been no information submitted so far on Article 20 implementation. It said further that the evaluation of activities that have impact on biodiversity must reflect the amount actually spent on biodiversity.

On the adoption of targets, Brazil stressed the urgency of establishing a time frame and targets for new and additional funds. It said that the review of the implementation of the resource mobilization strategy shows that developing countries are mostly using national resources. Reality reveals that most of these countries are working at the limit of domestic resources. It further expressed concerns on the establishment of national targets at this stage.

Egypt speaking for the Arab group said that every time we are asked to prepare reports, and it will take 2 years, by the time we get he funds there is very little time to act. We would be making the same mistake as the 2010 target (the previous target that failed to be met).

It said that USD 34 trillion was dedicated to financial crisis and if 10% of that were dedicated to biodiversity we would be in a healthier state.

Egypt agreed with Norway about designing a simpler system to resume our task (referring to the preliminary reporting framework), stressing that it is time to act, not just to talk and have theoretical views.

Malaysia reiterated that while it is important for Parties to consider all possible sources in implementing activities related to biodiversity, it should be based on articles 20 and 21 of the Convention. These articles make clear that developed countries are to provide new, additional and predictable resources and these are crucial if we are to achieve the Aichi targets and sustainable development. It further stressed that any new, innovative financial mechanisms must be supplementary to, and not replace, the financial mechanism under Article 21 of the CBD. We reiterate that the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) must be firmly established as a fundamental basis on matters pertaining to the provision of financial resources.

China stressed that financing gaps should ne filled in accordance with CBDR, CBD objectives and the overriding goal of poverty eradication. It also said that the preliminary report needs to be refined.

Grenada endorsed the GRULAC statement and stressed the need for expedited access, simplified processes.

Namibia supported Bolivia on indigenous and local communities and its non-market approach. It stressed that if we argue on baselines, and the estimates that are not even close to 5% of what we need, the it is a mere diversion.

It said that the findings of the high level panel are preliminary, then let us be unambitious and go for the lower range as a target and be done with it and get to working on getting the money to the people on the ground who need it.

Kiribati said that available data is already sufficient to generate baselines and targets, and that ensuring adequate financing to meet the Aichi targets is crucial for SIDS (small island developing states) that also face climate change. It supported mobilization of financial resources from all available sources, as well as the period 2006-2010 as the baseline for resource mobilization.

Cameroon said the new way of doing business brings along increased responsibility in the face of loss of biodiversity. We deny any attempt that would shift the increase in collective responsibility to developing and least developed countries. We seem to have the feeling that Aichi targets’ achievement is imposed on developing countries.

The European Union said that even though all Parties without doubt have done their best to report, only 32 Parties have been able to do so, and it is important to reflect on the reasons for this.

The EU said resource mobilization goes beyond international financial flows, and that it is clear that the magnitude of financial needs not least the promotion of green economy and new and innovative financial mechanisms. It called for further developing the understanding of such mechanisms, in line with outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference. It further said proposals and safeguards should be developed for the use of new and innovative financial mechanisms. Before quantitative targets, there is need for wider discussion of enabling conditions, according to the EU.

Norway expressed regret that the goal of having robust baselines and indicators for setting targets at this COP has not been realized. Only a few countries managed to report on their spending on biodiversity, and in our own efforts of reporting, we also experienced difficulties in using the set framework for reporting. A more simplified system is needed to ensure appropriate reporting from the sectors aiming at sustainable use of biodiversity and to avoid double counting of international streams of financing.

Norway highlighted the India-UK high level panel’s work and said it would further support the national efforts in valuation through the Waves program and the national programs of TEEB and the Poverty Environment Initiative.

It said that it has been actively involved in trying to find good solutions for increasing the funding for biodiversity from all sources and emphasized the importance of including both monetary and non-monetary values in the valuation of biodiversity, the role of the governments in both creating and in regulating markets and of the current work on safeguards for investments in biodiversity.

Japan said there is need to further work on global assessment and to discuss methodology of assessment, and that it is premature to adopt a strategy even at preliminary stage. On the estimates of financing needed, Japan said we have not completed estimation and so especially the big numbers such as tens of billions should not be included in the decision. It also said it is too premature to accept baseline.

Australia said much has changed in the last 20 years and stressed the critical role of the private sector and non-profit sector, adding that financing is no longer just the space of government. It said it would find it difficult to support quantitative targets.

Canada said the CBD strategy is a roadmap for Parties and we need to better monitor how Parties are implementing the strategy. Some have said there are gaps, even to hundreds of billions. It supported the process adopted in COP 10 – to objectively assess and to discuss targets once the assessment process is completed.

The contact group that has been set up to negotiate this issue met for the first time on Thursday night (11 October) and is scheduled to meet again on Friday and Saturday morning. Negotiations are expected to be difficult and occupy centre stage next week.