The role of international cooperative initiatives in financing biodiversity

Katarzyna (Kate) Negacz, Matilda Petersson, Max de With, OE Widerberg, Marcel Tj Kok, PH Pattberg

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Despite the efforts by national governments coordinated under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the state of biodiversity continues to deteriorate globally. One of the main reasons for the limited effectiveness of current biodiversity governance is believed to be the lack of sufficient and stable financial resources made available to halt biodiversity loss. In recent decades, funding for sustainable development has shifted from mainly public funding to more hybrid including both public and private sources of funding. In parallel, we see the emergence of hundreds of international cooperative initiatives (ICIs) across a wide range of environmental issue areas including biodiversity. These initiatives involve non-state and subnational actors (such as cities, regions, indigenous peoples and local communities, companies, and non-governmental organisations), oftentimes working in partnership with states and intergovernmental organisations. They operate across national borders and perform governance functions such as implementation of biodiversity projects, information provision, as well as providing funds to achieve common biodiversity goals.
Yet, little is known about the role played by ICIs as sources of finance for halting biodiversity loss. In this report, we analyse types of sponsors supporting ICIs, the ICIs with a financing function, and their contribution to financing flows. In particular, we examine different types of financial initiatives and their potential to contribute to halting biodiversity loss through a set of illustrative case studies.
When looking at how finance for biodiversity is obtained for the whole dataset of ICIs (n=388), we find that almost a half of the initiatives do not disclose their sponsors. Out of those that provide this information on their website, the majority has hybrid sponsors.
Our findings for financing ICIs (n=61) show that the majority of them are led by public actors followed by hybrid ICIs. Some financing ICIs combine their function with other activities, most often with information sharing & networking and operational activities. Most financing ICIs operate globally, but also focus on regions with biodiversity hotspots. Thematically, they most often work on forest biodiversity, followed by agricultural and marine biodiversity. The ICIs score well when it comes to monitoring, reporting, and external verification. Additionally, almost half of the financing ICIs have at least three out of seven accountability mechanisms analysed in this study.
For the three illustrative cases of the financing flows, we selected hybrid ICIs being the &Green Fund, the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs. They differ as it comes to sources of funding and main beneficiaries, but all cooperate with a broad range of sponsors from both public and private domain. &Green Fund and the Global Fund for Coral Reefs use similar funding vehicles focusing on grants. Also, their target audience is similar with a wide range of actors including companies, civil society organisations and public institutions involved in the projects on their respective themes. Global Alliance for Banking on Values differs from two other examples. Its members are banks, and it focuses on changing banking standards, disseminating best practices and using their customers’ assets to always invest in socially and environmentally more sustainable ventures. Finally, we discuss our findings in the context of recent policy debates related to the financing for biodiversity protection.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherIVM Report
Number of pages41
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2022

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