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New biodiversity initiatives and finance announced as leaders move to deliver on global nature agreements

New York, United States – New initiatives and finance to tackle the world’s biodiversity crisis were announced today at a high-level event convened on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The High-Level Event for Nature and People: From Ambition to Action saw world leaders and representatives from across civil society come together to send a strong signal that the world is united on rapidly delivering on landmark nature agreements secured in the past year, including the historic Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (KMGBF) and the High Seas Treaty.

Announcements included a 40 million euro contribution from the Germany Government to the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF); new contributions and finance toward the global target of protecting 30% of the planet by 2030; and a major ecosystem restoration project focused on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). 

Germany’s contribution to the GBFF, through its International Climate Initiative (IKI), means that the new fund, which launched in August, now has received sufficient financing to become operational. This represents an important milestone following the adoption of the KMGBF last year, where the decision to set up a new instrument to deliver international biodiversity finance was critical to achieving consensus.

Federal German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke said: “With this funding, Germany is ensuring that the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund can commence its work before the end of this year, as agreed by the international community in Montreal in December. This will bring us one step closer to the main goal of the Kumming-Montreal Agreement, which is to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030, including through ensuring that at least 30 percent of the world's land and marine area is under effective protection by 2030.”

Significant new contributions toward the KMGBF’s landmark global target of protecting and conserving 30% of land and ocean by 2030 (30x30) included an announcement that New Caledonia will place 10% of its maritime space under strict protection by the end of 2023, representing more than 130 000 km² of new highly protected marine areas, as well as the announcement by Niue's Premier Dalton Tagelagi of a new public-private partnership known as the "NOW Trust" to support "Ocean Conservation Commitments" which will fund the management, monitoring, and implementation of the Niue Moana Mahu, a marine reserve covering 40% of Niue’s waters or 127,000km².2 

New Caledonia Minister of Environment Jeremie Katidjo Monnier said: "We are thrilled to celebrate New Caledonia taking an important step forward in our collective journey to safeguard our planet's biodiversity. We are committing to securing 10% of our maritime space under strict protection by the end of 2023. It represents more than 130,000 square kilometers of new highly protected marine areas, the size of Greece. This is our contribution toward a sustainable and vibrant future for our people, marine life, and ecosystems!"

Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi said: “Today marks an important moment in Niue's history! We are proud to launch the 'NOW Trust,' a dynamic public-private partnership dedicated to enabling long term ocean conservation, and a resilient blue economy, through a shared approach to resourcing. The Ocean Conservation Commitments (OCCs) provide a vehicle for affordable sponsorship and contribution by individuals, corporates, philanthropy, multilaterals and governments.  This initiative will fund the vigilant protection and management of the Niue Moana Mahu, a colossal marine reserve spanning 127,000km² - 40% of our waters - an important investment in the future of our planet. Join us in celebrating this achievement!”

Announcing the new SIDS Ecosystem Restoration Flagship project, which will see 114,900 hectares of marine ecosystems restored across Comoros, St. Lucia, and Vanuatu, Belize Prime Minister Johnny Briceño, speaking on behalf of the SIDS Coalition for Nature, said: "After the global failure to meet any of the Aichi biodiversity targets over the last Decade, we, SIDS, cannot afford to miss this second chance offered by the Global Biodiversity Framework to protect our fragile island ecosystems, sustainably manage our nature-based assets and increase our environmental resilience. As Large Ocean States, the members of the SIDS Coalition for Nature, call the international community to support in urgently bridging knowledge and financing gaps for nature action as well as in mainstreaming biodiversity across productive sectors."

The Colombia government also committed to an allocation of 80m USD in its upcoming budget to grant social agreements for inclusive conservation and restoration in key deforested areas in the Amazon and to enhance indigenous reserves management.

Meanwhile, the UK Government announced it has endorsed the Ocean Conservation Pledge and unveiled a package of measures and funding to address biodiversity loss. UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Thérèse Coffey said: “Today, we have signalled our intent to sign the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction agreement, supported by a commitment to fund a project focused on the development of area-based management tools beyond national jurisdiction. I am also delighted to announce new UK funding including £2.5 million to support the Joint Analytical Cell, a crucial initiative aimed at combatting illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and £120,000 to fund Plymouth Marine Laboratory as the secretariat for the Ocean Acidification Research for Sustainability programme."

New finance to support biodiversity action and build more resilient societies and ecosystems was announced by both government and non-state leaders, with a focus on empowering communities and the power of public-private partnerships. Alongside the announcement of an Indigenous-led finance mechanism, CLARIFI, with new finance from the German government, the event saw the announcement from WWF of an investment of 40 million euros from the Dutch government into the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development. 

Deborah Sanchez, Director of The Community Land Rights and Conservation Finance Initiative (CLARIFI), said: “We are excited to announce that CLARIFI has recently been selected by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to receive 5 million euros as a part their commitment to invest in boosting the role of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in decision-making on nature conservation.  This is a significant investment in our work, and we are particularly encouraged to see BMZ’s flexibility in working with our model of fit-for-purpose funding, which is flexible, long-term, gender-inclusive, timely and accessible, and mutually accountable with the goal of securing tenure rights and conservation outcomes.”

Kirsten Schuijt, Director General, WWF International, said: “WWF is extremely proud to be a partner in the Dutch Fund for Climate and Development which, so far, has mobilized over 1.3 billion euro for a portfolio of 50 bankable nature-solutions across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Projected to secure climate-resilient livelihoods for up to 16 million people, this is the kind of demonstrable collective action between public and private sectors that we need to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030. WWF commends The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs today, on its additional injection of 40 millions euros that will help scale these impacts further.”

Other highlights at the landmark annual event included the announcement of the Great People’s Forest of the Eastern Himalayas, a partnership between the Balipara Foundation of Asama, India, and Conservation International, which aims to raise a $1 billion fund to plant 1 billion trees and protect and restore 1 million hectares by 2030.

Whilst the new actions and announcements provided an important demonstration of champions willing to accelerate impact for people and planet, the event also saw accountability on previous commitments. Notably, the Enduring Earth initiative showcased its progress since 2021, with partnership efforts underway to durably protect more than 300 million hectares of ocean, lands, and freshwater – an area the size of India. The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People set out how it has promptly shifted its focus to become operational in support of the implementation of the 30x30 global target, including through the creation of a Secretariat and the development of a knowledge platform and matchmaking tools on financial and technical assistance to support its members.

Leaders also highlighted that an urgent global across-society shift that drives significant finance and action into biodiversity protection, restoration and sustainable use worldwide is going to be critical if the world is to turn the tide on nature loss by 2030 and meet the goals of its ambitious biodiversity agreements.
High-Level Event for Nature & People: From Ambition to Action, New York, September 2023

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