The Conservation Finance Practitioner Roundtable gathered for its third time this year for two days in Washington, DC on Oct. 13-14. The event focused on four topics: the role of government in the creation of well-conceived policies and incentives, the need to increase collaboration between the private and public sectors, the conditions that are necessary to form and scale up conservation markets, and the current state of the soil carbon market.
REDD+ forest conservation funding for developing nations has dropped precipitously over the last two years, according to a report from Overseas Development Institute and Heinrich Boll Stiftung, “10 Things to Know about Climate Finance in 2016.” But according to Mario Boccucci, head of the UN-REDD Programme Secretariat, “The current level of public-sector donor pledging to forest systems and REDD+ is unprecedented. Germany, United Kingdom, and Norway have pledged $5 billion USD for the period 2016 through 2020.” He said REDD+ is taking off now after a challenging few years of development.
A group of young Chileans is working with Reforestemos Patagonia to reverse environmental damage. After more than a century of colonization of its wild and remote landscapes, Patagonia shows the scars of land abuses emerging among impressive mountain peaks, spectacular glaciers, and immense rivers and forests.
The 2016 Global Landscapes Forum: Climate Action for Sustainable Development event “Unlocking Private Finance in Forests, Sustainable Land Use and Restoration,” held during COP22 in Marrakech on Nov. 16, brought landscape and finance experts together to discuss ways to advance private investment in sustainable use of land and forests.
When the quality of land degrades, environmental, social and economic opportunities evaporate. The United Nations is working to prevent land degradation globally. In this interview, Simone Quatrini, Land Degradation Neutrality Fund coordinator and team leader at the Global Mechanism of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, said his program is attempting a worldwide conservation finance effort. There is massive work to be done.
Over two decades of conservation leadership by North American philanthropists Douglas and Kristine Tompkins have culminated in a major land donation that marks a milestone in the history of global land conservation. The Sept. 23 signing of a donation agreement transferring 375,000 acres from Tompkins Conservation to the Argentine government created Iberá National Park in the northern province of Corrientes.
The current conservation finance gap is estimated to be $200-300 billion per year. As public and philanthropic investment in conservation are in decline, private investment has the potential to bridge it. That was the key message conveyed by the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation launched at the International Union for Conservation of Nature 2016 World Conservation Congress on Sept. 2, in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The new Natural Resource Investment Center at the United States Department of the Interior is making strides toward using market-based approaches and innovative public-private partnerships to tackle natural resource and conservation issues. For years, the nation has been slowly coming to terms with aging water infrastructure, dealing with water shortages in the West, and attempting to revamp species and landscape conservation efforts.
Environmental NGOs and banks are both increasingly interested in conservation as a business opportunity. However, in the past, they have sometimes had an adversarial relationship. Their approaches to financing have also differed. In this interview, John Tobin-de la Puente, former managing director and global head of sustainability at Credit Suisse, said that partnerships between banks and NGOs are evolving toward mutual exploration of business opportunities. However, a substantial rift remains between these two types of organizations. The divide is political, pragmatic, and programmatic. To reach large-scale solutions, Tobin said, NGOs must work with profit-motivated businesspeople.
A tentative new relationship between Cuba and the United States, which were formerly at odds, may help build conservation finance and research opportunities in Cuba. Cuba, the “Pearl of the Antilles,” is one of the most important biodiversity hotspots worldwide, being the most biologically dense and diverse island in the Caribbean – with some of the most pristine beaches, the largest and densest forests, and the healthiest reefs.
On Jan. 20, the day before Credit Suisse’s 2016 Conservation Finance Conference, Credit Suisse and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment published a new report aiming to catalyze the expansion of conservation finance. The field has grown substantially in the past two years, according to reports from Credit Suisse.
How do investment funds build social and environmental priorities into agricultural financing? Several investment funds showcased their strategies for investing in smallholder value chains at the Global Landscapes Forum in Paris on Dec. 5-6. While continuing to seek financial returns, investors are supporting and measuring a broader set of environmental, social, and commodity-based outcomes tied to supply chain sustainability.
We are pleased to announce that the Conservation Finance Network’s 2016 Boot Camp training course is being held in partnership with the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University from June 6 to 10.
The White House has issued a directive to point federal agencies toward building ecosystem-services valuation into their plans, investments and regulations. This directive, released on Oct. 7, will help agencies synthesize conservation’s ecosystem benefits with its value to society.
A new forum has emerged for discussing key issues in the rapidly growing and evolving conservation finance field: the Conservation Finance Practitioner Roundtable. The group met for the first time on Jan. 20 at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York City.