On June 17th, the Biodiversity Finance Initiative Project (UNDP BIOFIN), together with expert from international private and academic organizations organised a workshop to discuss pathways to improve the effectiveness of financial resources allocation for biodiversity conservation.

UNDP BIOFIN China

Among the speakers were :

  • Dr. Ma Chaode Programme Director of the Sustainable Development Team of UNDP Biofin China;
  • Mr. Onno van den Heuvel, Leader of UNDP BIOFIN – Biodiversity Finance Initiative;
  • Professor Yao Wang, Director General of the IIGF, Chief Technical Advisor for UNDP BIOFIN China;
  • Dr. Alexander Fisher, Director of Biodiversity, Climate and Environment at Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH;
  • Dr. Dongwen Hu from Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences;
  • Professor Zhiqing Li, Executive Director of the Green Finance Research Center of Fudan University;
  • Dr. Qing Xu Programme Specialist of Sustainable Development Financing at UNDP;
  • Dr. Christoph NEDOPIL WANG Director of the Green BRI Center at the IIGF;

Key take aways :

The speakers and experts were invited to discussed about the Biofinance progress and challenges in China and the pathways to develop biodiversity finance in China.

– China has already developed an extensive system for biodiversity protection –  with the conservations projects, the organization of the COP15, the environmental redlines system or the application of GEP (Gross Ecosystem Product) in over 100 counties-  but more systematic plan to assess the impact of investment on biodiversity would be needed to fill the biodiversity finance gap;

–  China could further develop its good practices in the future – by applying SDG framework, pursuing SDG finance standards pilots projects – especially as the 14th five year plan is taking place: biodiversity should be privileged in decision making at the central and local level;

– China needs to keep pursuing its effort in green finance development for biodiversity conservation, notably through the newly launched Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosure (TNFD) and its work with UNDP BIOFIN;

– Financial institutions need to strengthen their management of biodiversity risks and take the leadership in finance for biodiversity conservation;

– To progress in biofinance in China, the policy-makers, the financial sector and the companies need to follow two main objectives :

  • Greening the finance, meaning reducing the negative impact of investment on biodiversity, knowing and assessing the risk;
  • Financing green, or investing more into activities that benefit biodiversity, like green bond, trust, offset that will finance conservation, or more flexible mechanism to improve capital investment into nature, like nature-based solution (NBS) or Debt-for-nature-swap (DFNS);

– Debt-For-Nature-Swap is part of the solution to tackle the biodiversity conservation issue and the post-pandemic debt crisis. China has a very unique standing in potential use of DFNS, as the biggest lender of 26 BRI countries with high ratio of debt exposure.

Our take

Faced with the rapid degradation of its ecosystems, China has adopted an ambitious national biodiversity conservation strategy and action plan.

Through the BIOFIN programme, China will, among other things, be able to develop a methodology for quantifying national biodiversity expenditure, address the financing gap for achieving national biodiversity targets and develop a financing plan that identifies and mobilises the resources and policies needed to implement the most appropriate financing solutions.

Furthermore, this contribution to the UNDP BIOFIN programme and its involvement in the work of the recently launched TNFD can serve as a gateway for China to increased international cooperation on biodiversity conservation with other countries, in particular the BRI’ones.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) is running the Global Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) to help governments identify positive and negative impacts of their public finance.

About the author(s)

Aurélie Chane-Yook is a research fellow at the Green BRI Center at IIGF.

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