WWF responds to UNEP State of Finance for Nature report

Posted on December, 01 2022

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, WWF Global Climate and Energy Practice Leader and CBD COP15 Action Agenda for Nature and People Champion, said: “Climate change is likely to become the dominant cause of biodiversity loss in the coming decades. Every degree of warming is expected to increase these losses.

“Nature-based solutions were recognised in the COP27 cover text, signalling to Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity that climate and nature are twin crises that must be dealt with together. It gives us hope that nature-based solutions and climate targets could be secured in the Global Biodiversity Framework to be agreed at COP15 in December.

“But the UNEP’s latest State of Finance for Nature report sounds an alarm bell for the ambition signalled by COP27 and the decisions coming up at COP15 on nature-based solutions. Yes, policy alignment is essential, but finance is a key enabler for commitments and implementation of climate and nature plans and strategies. Finance should maximize co-benefits while also recognising the need for specific dedicated finance for both nature and climate. Financial flows must be aligned with the targets of the Global Biodiversity Framework.”

Gavin Edwards, Director of WWF’s Global Nature Positive Initiative, said: “Nature is our ally in combating the climate crisis. With a key outcome of UN climate COP27 recognizing nature-based solutions in the cover text, today’s authoritative UN report only adds to momentum for their recognition at UN biodiversity COP15, backed up with the necessary new finance, as a key enabler for commitments and implementation of climate and nature plans and strategies. 

“Nature-based solutions are essential to the implementation of the new Global Biodiversity Framework. The UNEP report’s call for a doubling of finance flows to nature-based solutions must be heeded by governments meeting in Montreal next week for the COP15 negotiations as one of a number of approaches to financing nature. Urgent action is needed to repurpose the estimated US$1.8 trillion of public subsidies that flow annually into activities that are harmful to nature. Investing in high-quality nature-based solutions interventions, aligned to global standards, can provide wins for people and the planet. And are much more cost-effective in the long-run.

“According to the report, only 17% of the total investment into nature-based solutions comes from private capital. A step change is required and for this to happen businesses need to be motivated and held accountable to global safeguards.  Business has a key role to play in securing a nature-positive future, including by reducing their footprints, investing in equitable and rights-based nature-based solutions - which must be in addition to rapid decarbonisation of energy systems.”

Margaret Kuhlow, WWF Global Finance Practice Leader, said: “We welcome this fresh update to the State of Finance for Nature as negotiators gather in Montreal to negotiate the Global Biodiversity Framework. The report is an excellent companion piece to the recent IPCC sixth assessment report, which clearly showed the potential for net cost saving win-win solutions for climate and nature, deepening the analysis on the needs and opportunities in financing Nature-based Solutions.
“The report makes clear that we need to more than double the flow of funds to nature if we are to address the significant dual crises we face in climate change and biodiversity loss. Private financial flows to nature have increased at a faster pace than public flows over the last year, but still make up only 17% of the total, leaving lots of room for growth. And, lest we lose sight of an even larger challenge in the finance debate, the report shows once again that regardless of progress made in increasing finance for nature over the last year, those amounts are still dwarfed by massive flows of public funds toward potentially negative environmental activities, including harmful subsidies.
“Negotiators in Montreal need to take this opportunity to agree a strong Global Biodiversity Framework with clear targets, and align both public and private finance to deliver it: increasing and redirecting public funds in a manner that supports rather than undermines shared environmental and societal objectives and providing private investors with a clear signal on policy direction.”
Bialowieza, one of Europe's last virgin forests
© Tomasz Wilk