Far more money and greater actions are going to be needed to reverse the shocking decline in biodiversity across the world, according to a new Nature paper.
It is going to take a lot of money and a great deal of patience to reverse or slow the severe loss of both animal and plant species globally. Numerous species are at risk of extinction and some experts say at least $60 billion (US) would be needed for conservation efforts in less-affluent countries.
However, it is believed that just between $4 billion and $10 billion are currently made available for this purpose. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly impacted funding, which was originally not sufficient.
Donations made by rich countries are intended to help low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) carry out projects that would combat activities that are driving species to extinction.
Nations of the world are planning to meet this year – two years later than intended – for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. They are expected to come up with a new action plan for protecting global biodiversity.
Donations to LMICs for biodiversity preservation are lower than what these countries receive for helping to combat climate change. The latter stood at about $50 billion three years ago, going by an estimate.
It is not just the pandemic that seems to be standing in the way of adequate funding. Countries are still struggling to adjust to the effects of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
According to estimates by some top conservation groups, biodiversity funding at this time amounts to around $5.2 billion a year. The bulk of this money is from six governments, including those of France, the U.K., and Japan, plus the European Union.
The Global Environment Facility (GEF) announced last month that it would make $1.9 billion available for biodiversity projects over the coming four years.
Some private donors, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, have also chipped in with some donations. The American businessman indicated last year that he would contribute $2 billion towards the efforts.
However, conservation groups say even more money than has been committed or promised would be needed to halt the catastrophic loss of biodiversity.
Need for a new structure
However, money is not everything. There is a need to change how things are currently being done to achieve better results. Money to be made available will require both a “new home and structure,” according to the Nature paper.
Brazil had proposed at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland in March that a new multilateral fund that needs to be created for biodiversity should be controlled by a 24-member board. Rich and lower-income countries should have equal representation on that board in terms of membership.
Brazil’s proposal kindled interest among some countries. However, some saw it somewhat as an attempt by the South American country to divert attention from its failures, including that of not effectively protecting the Amazon rainforest.
The Kunming Biodiversity Fund revealed by China last October could make a big difference in combating biodiversity loss. The Asian giant announced a seed funding of about $223 million to get things off the ground. It asked other countries to chip in with their contributions, but none has done so yet.
Donor countries are thought to be reluctant because of too much control that China has over the fund. The Chinese government is thinking of holding the fund at the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
But Nature says the AIIB – which has the U.K., Germany, and France among its 105 members – would be an excellent home for the new fund. The bank has impressive green plans. It is looking to have all infrastructure projects it would be financing by 2025 to address climate issues.