UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) China Programme was officially launched on June 17th, 2021 in Beijing. BIOFIN is a programme aiming to reduce the biodiversity financing gap by delivering better on what is available, reallocating resources from where they harm to where they help, acting early to reduce the need for future investments, and generating additional resources.
The Green Finance Workshop was held on June 17th in UNDP Compound and online. Dr. Ma Chaode, Acting Head of Planet delivered Welcome Remarks and Ms. Midori Paxton, Head of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Bureau for Policy and Programme Support from UNDP HQ delivered Opening Remarks via video. She emphasized that China has been a global leader on green finance and participation of China in BIOFIN will further its contribution in this critical space.
Mr. Onno van den Heuvel, UNDP Global BIOFIN Programme Manager introduced BIOFIN’s work standards and best practices; Prof. Wang Yao, Director General, International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance and Economics (CUFE), also the CTA of UNDP BIOFIN China Programme gave a speech on Green Finance for Biodiversity Conservation.
Prof. Li Zhiqing from Fudan Institute of Green Finance, Fudan University; and Dr. Hu dongwen from Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences; Dr. Alexander Fisher, Director Biodiversity, Climate, and Environment (BCE) GIZ China; Dr. Christoph Nedopil Wang, Director of the Green Belt and Road Center at the IIGF, CUFE; Dr. XU Qing, Sustainable Finance Specialist of UNDP China shared the topics on Environment Information Disclosure Index of Listed Companies in China, Green Supply Chain, carbon finance, Debt-for-Nature Swaps and Sustainable finance, etc. The Workshop was facilitated by Ms. Leng Fei, National BIOFIN Programme Coordinator. Dr. Ma Chaode congratulated the official launching of UNDP BIOFIN China Programme by appreciating all the partners' efforts.
At the moment, China is pioneering in Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) which measures the economic value of all ecosystem products and services supplied to human well-being annually. In recent years the concept of GEP has been widely applied in over 100 counties across China. In March, after piloting for six years, the city of Shenzhen established a complete GEP accounting methodology that will measure contributions of the environmental services to the local economy.
The initiation of BIOFIN in China comes at an opportune time, as China prepares to host CBD COP15 and play a substantive role in the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. One key element of the global biodiversity framework is resource mobilisation, and the efforts of BIOFIN in China presents a convergence of effort towards this central theme.
BIOFIN develops evidence-based Biodiversity Finance Plans and supports countries to implement finance solutions to reach their national biodiversity targets.
It promotes national platforms and regional and global dialogues, enabling countries to accelerate the reduction of their finance needs to the point where reaching these biodiversity targets are no longer hampered by the systemic lack of investment. BIOFIN receives generous funding from Germany, the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Flanders.
BIOFIN China will focus on the biodiversity-rich Areas and the finance hub of Shanghai Province, while firmly placing their efforts within the national context, including relevant national institutional, legislative and fiscal frameworks.
Biodiversity hot spots
As BIOFIN gets underway in the country, the project team will work to develop a Policy and Institutional Review, a Biodiversity Expenditure Review, a Finance Needs Assessment, and finally, a Biodiversity Finance Plan for chosen Biodiversity hot spots.
By the end of 2021, BIOFIN China aims to have results from the Policy and Institutional Review in Shanghai. BIOFIN in Shanghai will focus on the finance sector and private sector, with a Policy and Institutional Review and a Biodiversity Finance Plan that specially seek solutions from within these sectors. Implementation of selected finance solutions will begin in 2023.
BIOFIN in Action
BIOFIN is much more than a series of studies. From inception, BIOFIN seeks to create constructive partnerships and develop capacity. The BIOFIN China team will be based in provincial governments and the UNDP Country Office, and the steering committee and technical task team will have representation from government departments responsible for finance and the environment, as well as other institutions that have a key role to play in biodiversity and biodiversity finance. Like all BIOFIN countries, the BIOFIN China team will be supported by the UNDP BIOFIN global team, and will benefit from being a part of the global BIOFIN network of countries, sharing lessons and innovative approaches to help advance biodiversity finance around the world.
BIOFIN successes in other countries
National level implementation of BIOFIN is at various stages in over 40 other participating countries. Several countries successfully moved biodiversity finance towards the forefront of national policy and fiscal agendas.
In the Philippines, BIOFIN helped fill a gap in protected area legislation (2018) and supported the formulation of a US$ 40 million budget proposal for protected areas, adopted late 2019 for the 2020 budget. A new app ‘GCash Forest’ was launched with payment platform GCash/Alipay combining incentives for sustainable behaviour with payments for indigenous tree planting, raising over US$ 500,000 in the first year. New legislation was formally adopted on multiple finance solutions in Kazakhstan in 2021, including a definition for ecosystem services and natural capital, the recognition of ecotourism, and the integration of biodiversity offsets into the mitigation hierarchy. In Georgia, the Environment Ministry saw a budget increase for biodiversity conservation from US$30,000 to US$270,000.
In Guatemala, through results-based budgeting processes, five coastal municipalities increased the funds available for coastal and marine biodiversity conservation and management by over 50% from 2018 to 2019. Botswana revised their entire system of protected area fees – something that had not been done in over 20 years. Mexico successfully re-designed two major environmental funds, a national climate fund - previously not operational and not focusing on biodiversity – that since saw a turnover exceeding US$ 3 Million, with US$ 2 million directed to nature-based solutions for ecosystem resilience, and a green fund of Mexico City, resulting in a saving of US$ 3 million per year and a more articulated focus on biodiversity. Sri Lanka adopted a sustainable finance policy and sustainable tourism certification in 2019. Zambia formalised a national framework for green bonds in early 2020.
The Seychelles - where the parliament formally adopted all of the finance solutions of the country’s Biodiversity Finance Plan - launched the first ever Biodiversity Finance Unit in government in 2019, and Belize started a Biodiversity Unit in April 2020. Sri Lanka and Cuba are implementing Payments for Ecosystem Services for the first time. Kyrgyzstan became the first country to set an official reform agenda for subsidies that have a negative impact on biodiversity. Meanwhile, Indonesia capitalized on existing Islamic finance modalities: green bonds or sukuk and alms-giving or zakat and expanded its use to address biodiversity financing issues, resulting in an investment exceeding US$ 2.6 million for biodiversity starting in 2021. Ireland became the first West-European country to implement the BIOFIN methodology, completing the Biodiversity Expenditure Review and Policy and Institutional Review to date.
Learn more at www.biofin.org