Wildlife & Biodiversity

Failure to find adequate funds may hamper Kunming-Montreal biodiversity targets

The Global Environment Facility has to ensure that the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund has access to at least $200 billion per year by 2030

By Vibha Varshney
Published: Monday 26 June 2023
Adoption of GBF. Photo: UNCBD.

The question whether the Global Environment Facility (GEF) will get the funding needed to achieve the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework looms large as the GEF Council gets ready to meet in Brazil on June 26, 2023.

The fear is tangible as even climate change, which hogs headlines each day, suffers from this financing crisis.

GEF was tasked to find funds for the implementation of the framework adopted last December at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). At COP15, it was decided that a new trust fund, the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBF), would be put in place to run the projects under the framework.

Also read: COP15: Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework adopted

Under Target 19 of the GBF, members have to generate at least $200 billion per year by 2030 for biodiversity. Financial assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition has to reach at least $20 billion per year by 2025 and at least $30 billion per year by 2030.

GEF hopes that the initial contributions to the fund would reach $200 million from at least three donors by December 2023. It is not clear where the remaining would come from, but members are likely to make pledges at the meeting. Private sector and philanthropic organisations are also likely to be roped in.

In May, UNEP’s Finance Initiative published a briefing calling on banks to act on nature as they do on climate. Banks have been asked to ensure that adequate financial resources are made available to implement the GBF and the $700 billion per year finance gap for biodiversity is progressively closed. World Bank would likely be invited to act as Trustee for this fund at the Brazil meeting. 

The Global Biodiversity Framework Fund would separate biodiversity from the remaining financing by GEF, which at present manages six multilateral environmental agreements. 

Other than the Convention on Biological Diversity, GEF also funds the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

A seventh — United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction — is likely to be added to this list at the Brazil meeting.

Overall, the funds available for the GEF-8 period are equivalent to $1.4 billion. The agency hopes that it would help generate another $9.1 billion in co-financing to bring the total to $10.5 billion. During the period, which ends in June 2026, $5.3 billion in donor funding will be deployed for environmental initiatives in developing countries, according to GEF.

The governing body of GEF will discuss its overall work plan under the four-year GEF-8 funding period. Members will meet again at the Global Environment Facility Assembly to be held between August 22 and August 26 in Vancouver, Canada. While these assemblies normally go unnoticed, this year, ministers from the High Ambition Coalition for People and Nature are said to be planning a mini-COP on the margins.

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