"Final" targets for resource mobilisation remain elusive

Sunday 12 October 2014

Date: 9 October 2014

Type: Report

Source: TWN

Keywords: COP CBD

Beijing, 8 Oct (Chee Yoke Ling*) — Developing countries are pressing for final targets for resource mobilisation to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for which funding remains elusive after more than 20 years.

The 12th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD is meeting in Pyeongchang, Republic of South Korea from 6 to 17 October 2014.

Pinning down final numerical and time bound targets for mobilising finance will be a central issue at the meeting.

The first report of the High Level Panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 (co-sponsored by India and the United Kingdom) estimated that a range of USD 150 to 440 billion annually is required to implement the Strategic Plan.

A team of five experts commissioned by the CBD Secretariat that conducted a needs assessment for the sixth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) estimated that between USD 74 billion and 191 billion will be necessary to assist GEF-eligible countries in activities eligible for GEF funding to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (adopted by the COP in 2010), over the period 2014- 2018.

These findings were presented to COP11 in 2012 in Hyderabad, India.

The second report of the High Level Panel presented to the ongoing COP12 reiterates that estimates at global, regional and national levels all point to a substantial gap between the investments needed to deliver biodiversity targets and the resources currently allocated.

This is true for all of the Aichi Targets. It referred to a 2012 review that estimated current levels of global funding for biodiversity at between USD 51 and 53 billion annually, compared to estimated needs of USD 300 to 400 billion annually.

Although the developed country Parties have legally committed to provide new and additional financial resources to meet the full incremental cost of implementing the CBD, this commitment, as with other environmental treaties, has not been honoured. A regular argument used now is the current economic condition of developed countries.

(Article 20.2 of the CBD that entered into force in 1993 reads: "The developed country Parties shall provide new and additional financial resources to enable developing country Parties to meet the agreed full incremental costs to them of implementing measures which fulfil the obligations of this Convention".)

A COP decision in 2012, whereby developing countries in good faith expect developed country Parties to agree to establish final resource mobilisation targets at the Pyeongchang meeting, now faces unravelling as most developed countries are backtracking. (The CBD COP meets every two years.)

There has been a strategy for resource mobilisation in existence since 2008 under the CBD, but it lacks concrete targets.

At the COP10 meeting in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, three major decisions were adopted as a package: 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 (with no concrete targets).

A proposal from the Group of 77 and China for numerical targets and timeline to mobilise financial resources was rejected by developed countries at COP10.

Aichi Target 20 reads as follows: "By 2020, at the latest, the mobilization of financial resources for effectively implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 from all sources, and in accordance with the consolidated and agreed process in the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, should increase substantially from the current levels. This target will be subject to changes contingent to resource needs assessments to be developed and reported by Parties."

As a reluctant compromise to conclude the Nagoya COP10 package, developing countries agreed to defer resource mobilisation targets setting to the next COP meeting in 2012.

After intense negotiations, a decision was eventually adopted at COP11 in 2012 (Hyderabad, India) on "preliminary targets" because developed countries still refused to have final targets.

Accordingly, developed country Parties agreed to double the total biodiversity-related international financial resource flows to developing countries, in particular least developed countries and Small Island Developing States, and countries with economies in transition, by 2015 and at least maintaining this level until 2020.

It was agreed that the preliminary baseline figure is the average annual spending on biodiversity between 2006 and 2010.

All Parties also agreed to substantially increase domestic biodiversity expenditures. Specifically, there will be an endeavour for 100% but at least 75% of Parties to have included biodiversity in their national priorities or development plans by 2015 and to have made appropriate domestic financial provisions for this.

A roadmap was also agreed to, whereby COP12 would review progress towards the achievement of the Aichi Target 20 "with the aim of adopting the final target for resource mobilization", building upon the financial resource flow responding to the above preliminary targets.

The review of the achievement of these targets would continue at subsequent COPs until 2020.

However, backtracking by many developed countries started almost immediately. At the final plenary of COP11 itself in 2012, Australia, Canada and Japan expressed disagreement with the decision in their closing plenary statements when the decision was formally adopted after more than 12 hours of marathon negotiations on the final day and night.

Negation of the COP11 decision continued at the meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation of the Convention (WGRI) that took place on 16-20 June 2014 in Montreal, Canada.

Developed countries did not agree on the setting of "final" targets as required by the COP11 decision.

Thus, the WGRI recommendation 5/10 in a draft decision on "Resource Mobilization" for negotiation at COP12 in Pyeongchang (UNEP/CBD/COP/12/1/Add. 2/Rev. 1) contains a bracket around the word "final" in the subsection on targets for resource mobilisation. There are two options.

Option 1 essentially turns the preliminary targets in the decision of COP11 into final targets. Option 2 is where the dilution and even reversal of the preliminary targets is played out.

First, developed countries want to restrict the targets "to significantly reduce the gap between identified needs and available resources" whereas their CBD commitment is to finance "agreed full incremental costs".

Secondly, in addition to public sector financing in international financial resources flows, developed countries seek to extend sources to include the private sector and "as appropriate through new and innovative financial mechanisms".

The latter is very controversial already in the COP meetings as these include highly questionable market mechanisms that can undermine the CBD objectives and provisions.

At the COP12 Working Group plenary discussion on 7 October on this agenda item, Kenya, speaking for the African Group (supported by countries including South Africa, the Philippines, Liberia, Namibia, Ethiopia, India, Malaysia and Egypt) expressed its support for option 1 of the draft text which calls for adoption of the final targets for resource mobilisation, under Aichi Target 20 of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, using average annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006-2010 as a baseline, in accordance with the preliminary targets of the COP11 decision.

Malaysia stressed that the resource mobilisation target needs to be finalised, and while it is important to increase domestic funding, common but differentiated responsibilities should be taken into account when dealing with mobilisation of financial resources.

Hence, according to Malaysia, the discussion on domestic resources should not divert from the commitment of developed countries under Article 20.

India said the Global Monitoring Report of Resource Mobilization presents a comprehensive account of biodiversity financing, and pointed to the fact that the annual cost of ice cream industry is USD 70 billion and it’s growing at 3 to 4% per annum while here we are struggling to get funding for USD 50 billion per annum.

It said that the time has come to walk the talk. In 2010, at Nagoya, the biodiversity strategic plan was adopted and all of us know that resource mobilisation was kept aside and the responsibility came to us in 2012 (COP11), when in our wisdom we had decided that the international financial flows would be doubled. For now, there’s no doubling whatsoever.

India said that is not the way we set our targets. It added that to do something, international flows need to be doubled as promised - the Nagoya protocol is entering into force (on 12 October), there are the Aichi Targets and so the financial needs have to be met as set out in Article 20 of the Convention.

Argentina said that the agreement that we had in Nagoya and Hyderabad are not sufficient. Parties need the relevant means for implementation in order that they are able to deal with the increased costs of the biodiversity strategic plan.

It said the strategy for mobilisation of resources is important for the achievement of the strategic plan and it is fundamental to find a final target that responds to the needs of developing countries.

Argentina also said that all innovative financial mechanisms must be supplementary.

Bolivia also warned against the transferring of responsibility related to finance from the public sector to the private sector. It proposed the establishment of a mechanism for monitoring, reporting and verifying to ensure that financial resources from developed to developing countries is taking place.

Developed countries such as New Zealand suggested instead the review of progress towards the final targets, rather than the targets themselves, while Canada supported a target for domestic resource mobilisation from all sources.

The Republic of Korea wants to have a target by 2020, but said that this should be for all options on the table and hoped that COP12 will provide an opportunity to have a mechanism to achieve these targets.

Some countries in their statements provided figures on how much they are already providing for biodiversity conservation from their own domestic sources. For example, Brazil said it has provided around USD 2.4 billion of its domestic resources for biodiversity conservation using the 2010 exchange rate.

Costa Rica said that 80% of its resources invested in ecological restoration have come from national resources.

The Philippines said its government budget allocation has tripled for the biodiversity sector, since the Aichi Targets were adopted in 2010, though it also said that it is still not enough to support all efforts for biodiversity conservation.

A contact group has been set up and begins negotiations today (8 October).

(* With inputs from Zhu Zhenyan in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.) +

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