The Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) - High Level Segment Plenary

Statement by UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner

October 12, 2021


Minister Huang Runqiu,

Our world faces a “triple crisis”: from accelerating climate change -- to the unprecedented socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic -- to the continued degradation of ecosystems & biodiversity.

It is a manifestation of humanity pushing past the limits that can sustain life on this planet.

As the 2020 Human Development Report points out -- it is now time for all countries to redesign their paths to progress.

Finance is at the very centre of this transformation -- not least because many investments are inflicting immense damage on our natural world.

For instance -- a new UN report has found that 9 out of 10 dollars paid to farmers every year in agricultural support actually harm nature and fuel the climate crisis.

Indeed, converting land for agricultural use has led to a 70% reduction in global biodiversity.

Therefore, the report calls for a re-purposing of agricultural support to shift our food systems in a more sustainable direction.

That means rewarding good practices -- such as incentivising farmers to restore ecosystems and protect biodiversity. 

At the United Nations Development Programme, we are helping countries & communities to drive forward these types of “nature-positive” investments.

Working with key partners including the Adaptation Fund, the Global Environment Facility, and the Green Climate Fund, we currently support a 3.2-billion-dollar portfolio in 138 countries that is invested in ecosystem management & biodiversity conservation.

Since the year 2000, we have supported communities to restore over 1.3 million hectares of mangroves and forests -- to give just one example of our achievements.

We are now pioneering new ways to channel game-changing levels of finance towards nature and the Global Goals.

At UNDP, our Biodiversity Finance initiative -- or BIOFIN -- is at the cutting edge of this emerging field.

It is currently supporting 40 countries to develop and implement “Biodiversity Finance Plans” that will mobilise large amounts of finance towards biodiversity.

That includes helping countries to identify & implement the most effective solutions to fund nature: from debt-for-nature and debt-for-climate swaps to “green” and “blue” bonds.

UNDP warmly welcomes China which has recently joined BIOFIN through the Provincial Government of Shandong and Shanghai Municipality

UNDP is also a co-founder of the “Taskforce on Nature-Related Financial Disclosures” launched earlier this year.

It provides a much-needed framework for financial institutions and businesses to report on their impacts & dependencies on nature.

In doing so, it aims to redirect global finance flows towards “nature-positive” investments and support nature-based solutions at scale. 

Indeed, other efforts hold great promise.

For instance, UNDP is part of “The Global Fund for Coral Reefs” which seeks to raise and invest 500 million dollars in coral reef conservation and restoration over the next 10 years.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to announce that the United Nations Development Programme, the UN Environment Programme & the Global Environment Facility are committed to providing new levels of financial and technical support to CBD parties as soon as the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is finalised.

As this crucial Framework takes shape, I believe that we are on the cusp of a brand-new approach to ecosystems and their precious biodiversity.

No longer can we take as much as we can from the Earth for a “quick profit”.

Rather, nature will finally be assigned its true value:


Thank you.