Worldwide biodiversity is decreasing at a rapid pace [1]IPBES (2019): Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. E. S. Brondizio, J. Settele, S. … Continue reading. Activities to conserve nature must be scaled up if we are to turn the tide. Traditional funding from philanthropy and the government is no longer sufficient to achieve this objective.

Therefore, IUCN NL advises local partners in developing countries on designing projects around the conservation and restoration of biodiversity such as the regeneration or restoration of deforested areas that involve the business community and can be appealing to investors. By ensuring these projects include an earning model, they can be scaled up and make a more substantial contribution to biodiversity conservation.

Steps to attract more public and private funding for nature conservation

Mobilising public and private funding involves a number of steps, through the gradual development of an investment model. A nature conservation project usually begins with public or philanthropic money. Such projects must be scaled up in order to have a significant impact. To this end IUCN NL works with local partners on a combination of public and private funds, such as via the UN climate funds, impact investors and funds provided by development banks such as the World Bank. The ultimate goal is that this money is supplemented with private funding from banks and eventually also institutional investors such as pension funds. In this process IUCN NL brings the worlds of finance and nature conservation together to learn to understand each other’s language and way of thinking.

Local community participation

The projects IUCN NL supports in Africa, Asia and Latin America always focus on the full participation of local communities from the area concerned along with other relevant stakeholders that have a stake in the area. It is a bottom-up process, in which the community must acquire or retain a say about the areas that traditionally fall under their management. In this process we apply an integrated landscape approach. In this approach we work together with the relevant stakeholders in the area on a shared vision of a landscape’s future management.

Business cases for nature conservation

For local and even international investors to be interested it is necessary for local communities and NGOs to work with entrepreneurs and companies to organise aspects of their nature conservation activities as a business case that can be scaled up. IUCN NL helps local partners translate their project into a business case that integrates biodiversity protection with activities such as sustainable farming, eco-tourism, climate protection, responsible mining and the protection of environmental services such as water or carbon storage. IUCN provides capacity building support to help local organisations to better negotiate and collaborate with the authorities to shape policies that stimulate sustainable investment. For example, in the south-west of Ghana, the landscape initiative supported by IUCN NL resulted in a government programme that successfully applied for funding from the World Bank.

Climate finance

Conserving nature also benefits the climate. Trees extract and store CO2 from the air, and healthy, biodiversity-rich soils retain better, thus reducing the risk of drought and flooding. Investors and businesses already make substantial investments in climate mitigation, such as through the energy transition. It is more difficult to attract private funding for climate adaptation, especially in poorer regions.

Therefore, IUCN NL and its partner organisations in tropical landscapes are developing projects that strive to simultaneously bring three goals closer together, in association with the authorities, large and small businesses and local and international investors. These projects use nature-based solutions for climate adaptation and mitigation, and can also be made profitable through to the production of sustainable products and services. We do this, for example, in the MoMo4Climate project.

Results

  • Ghana: our local partner organisation NCRC is tackling deforestation and developing monitoring systems to track progress for people and nature, together with companies and the authorities. Millions in USD have been attracted in investments from large cocoa producers and development banks.
  • Uganda: our local partner organisation Ecotrust uses the international market for carbon credits to conserve or plant natural forest on 10% of local farmers’ plots. Many thousands of smallholders participate and are paid, and there are opportunities for expansion in the near future.
  • Vietnam: partner organisation VietNature is making forest planting more sustainable, with a greater number of natural species, together with local communities and landowners. Our local partner works with traders and companies that fuel a growing demand for sustainable wood and is developing the business case.
  • Philippines: local private banks and regional development banks make early invests available for agro-forestry restoration projects that generate income for local communities and help protect the catchment area from flooding and erosion at the same time.
  • Ghana: our local partner organisation NCRC is tackling deforestation and developing monitoring systems to track progress for people and nature, together with companies and the authorities. Millions in USD have been attracted in investments from large cocoa producers and development banks.
  • Uganda: our local partner organisation Ecotrust uses the international market for carbon credits to conserve or plant natural forest on 10% of local farmers’ plots. Many thousands of smallholders participate and are paid, and there are opportunities for expansion in the near future.
  • Vietnam: partner organisation VietNature is making forest planting more sustainable, with a greater number of natural species, together with local communities and landowners. Our local partner works with traders and companies that fuel a growing demand for sustainable wood and is developing the business case.
  • Philippines: local private banks and regional development banks make early invests available for agro-forestry restoration projects that generate income for local communities and help protect the catchment area from flooding and erosion at the same time.

Want to know more?

Portretfoto Jan Willem den Besten

Jan Willem den Besten

Senior Expert Ecosystems & Climate

Fanny Verkuijlen

Expert Green Economy

Maxime Eiselin

Expert Green Economy

Index

Index
1 IPBES (2019): Global assessment report on biodiversity and ecosystem services of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. E. S. Brondizio, J. Settele, S. Díaz, and H. T. Ngo (editors). IPBES secretariat, Bonn, Germany.