This Week In Biodiversity: Show Me The Money
A new study published in Science estimates a global cost of $80 billion a year to halt biodiversity loss and protect key conservation areas. Meanwhile, the 11th COP to the Convention of Biological Diversity is taking place in Hyderabad, India with biodiversity finance at its center. Ecosystem Marketplace’s Nathaniel Carroll weighs in on the economic value of biodiversity.
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18 October 2012
| The 11th Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of Parties is underway in Hyderabad, India, and biodiversity financing (or the lack thereof) is right at the center of the discussion. Amid frustrations from some quarters that no formal financing mechanism has been created yet,
CBD executive secretary Braulio Ferreira De Souza Dias made his case for investment: "Expenditures on biodiversity should not be seen as costs," said Dias.
"They should be seen as investments that will pay back with significant environmental, social and economic benefits for all our societies."
One new study published in Science last week effectively handed the world a bill for halting biodiversity loss. The study's authors estimate that $80 billion a year will be needed to bring threatened species back from the brink of extinction and effectively protect key conservation areas. Put in perspective, that's not much, says author Donal McCarthy, of BirdLife International. "The total required is less than 20 percent of annual global consumer spending on soft drinks."
The trick is translating economic studies into investment, says Ecosystem Marketplace's own Nathaniel Carroll in an AFP interview. "Everyone should be paying for their impacts on, use of, and reliance on biodiversity and its services, if they want it to continue to be available."
It hasn't been all bad news - a report launched at the meeting announced that Marine Protected Areas have increased ten-fold in the last ten years, meaning that the world may still be on track to hit its Aichi target of 10% protected by 2020 (currently MPAs comprise 2.3% of world ocean areas). And India became the first country to directly contribute to reaching the Aichi Targets with a $50 million pledge.
Still, the clock is ticking while progress on the twenty Aichi Targets set at the last CBD meeting in 2010 continues to be unsteady and funding remains scarce. As Francis Vorhies put it in a post at Forbes, "Fine targets indeed, but where is the money going to come from?"
—The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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