To Save Biodiversity, Global Community Moves to Fund Ambitious Plan

To bridge massive financing gap, leaders look to innovative models, including partnerships

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To Save Biodiversity, Global Community Moves to Fund Ambitious Plan
Sunlight streams into the blue waters of a vibrant coral reef. Yellow, black and blue, and orange fish swim near red, green and bright coral.
A coral reef in the Red Sea highlights some of the biodiversity that should be protected throughout the ocean.
Georgette Douwma Getty Images

In a landmark meeting following a sweeping 2022 agreement to safeguard global biodiversity, governments, advocacy groups, and businesses began charting a course to pay for the ambitious plan.

In December 2022, the 196 member countries of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreed on a plan to safeguard nature. Known as the Global Biodiversity Framework, its goal is to drastically reduce threats to wildlife and ecosystems and help people live in better harmony with nature. The framework includes targets to protect and conserve at least 30% of the planet by 2030, eliminate government subsidies that harm biodiversity, and end human-caused extinctions of species by 2050.

At that December meeting, member countries selected the Global Environment Facility (GEF)—a grantmaking, financing, and policy support mechanism of the CBD—to create and manage a new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) to generate and distribute assets for the framework’s implementation.

The GEF met in Vancouver Aug. 22-26 to officially adopt the GBFF. At the meeting, which also included government officials, business leaders, environmentalists, and Indigenous representatives, Canada and the United Kingdom announced contributions of nearly $150 million and $13 million, respectively.

That’s a respectable start, but Parties to the CBD agreed that developed countries will contribute at least $20 billion annually by 2025 to developing countries to help close that gap between what’s available now and what’s needed to sufficiently safeguard biodiversity worldwide. Although the new fund came together in record time, the money committed thus far falls short. Further, to meet the goals of the GBFF, governments must reduce harmful subsidies—such as those paid to industrial fishing fleets to encourage overfishing—to the tune of $500 billion per year by 2030.

The CBD will succeed only if resource mobilization increases from all sources, including governments, corporate and philanthropic donors, through tackling harmful subsidies, and more. The GBFF is a welcomed first step, but governments, industry, multinational organizations, and others must act urgently to reach the framework’s targets.

Once funded, the GBFF will provide developing countries—home to most of the world's biodiversity— much-needed monetary support to sustainably, effectively, and equitably protect and restore biodiversity. The programming directions for the new fund include ensuring that 39% of GBFF resources are allocated to least-developed countries and Small Island Developing States. They also include an aspirational goal of ensuring that—by 2030—at least 20% of the fund goes to projects supporting conservation actions by Indigenous peoples and local communities.

As well as mobilizing more funding, governments and the global conservation community must also have effective mechanisms—including partnerships—to efficiently deliver resources at scale to where they are most needed. Pew and our partners remain committed to supporting country-led conservation efforts, including protecting and conserving at least 30% of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine areas by 2030—the global effort known as 30 by 30. We are pursuing these goals through our project work and partnerships such as the Blue Nature Alliance and the Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy Project.

Another example is Enduring Earth, an innovative partnership built on the success of a model called project finance for permanence (PFP). This secures long-term investment in conservation initiatives by tying full and sustained funding to measurable goals, including social and environmental gains. PFPs support governments, Indigenous peoples and local communities, and partners in establishing durable holistic conservation solutions.

Much more effort and money are needed to help all life on Earth—including humankind—thrive far into the future. But the August launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund and the progress made in Vancouver was groundbreaking. If this conservation effort can join forces with partnerships such as Enduring Earth in directing resources where they are needed most, that will help forge a brighter future for all living beings and the ecosystems we all depend on.

Masha Kalinina coordinates The Pew Charitable Trusts’ cross-campaign efforts with the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. Keith Lawrence is a project director with Pew’s conservation support team.

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