TWN Info Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge (Oct12/02)
12 October 2012
Third World Network

Targets for new and additional biodiversity finance a must, say developing countries

Hyderabad, 11 Oct (Chee Yoke Ling) – Developing countries are deeply concerned that developed countries are not living up to their legally binding commitments to provide new and additional financial resources to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

The 11th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the CBD is being held in Hyderabad, India from 8 to 19 October 2012. A central issue is the adoption of targets for resource mobilization as part of the review of the implementation of the resource mobilization strategy that was adopted in 2008.

At the last biennial COP meeting in Nagoya, Japan in 2010, three major decisions were adopted as a package: the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing, the revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity (2011-2020) with 20 targets (the Aichi Biodiversity Targets), and the implementation plan for the Strategy for Resource Mobilisation in support of the achievement of the CBD objectives.

One of the most heated and longest negotiations in Nagoya centred on the mobilization of financial resources. The Philippines on behalf of the G77 and China, Brazil, Bolivia and Kenya strongly represented the interests of developing countries. They insisted in particular on specific targets for financial flows on the basis of the commitment of developed countries to provide new and additional finance for agreed full incremental costs under Article 20 of the CBD.

There was no agreement to establish specific targets even though the G77 and China had proposed specific figures with time lines. The European Union proposed instead to develop a methodology for assessing needs. Parties finally agreed to apply the methodology during 2011-2012 to measure gaps and needs as well as progress in the increase in, and mobilization of, resources against the adopted 15 indicators, most of which were proposed by developing countries. It was agreed that COP 11 will adopt targets on resource mobilization provided that “robust baselines” and an effective reporting framework are adopted.

At the current COP11 in Hyderabad, two working groups were established on Monday (8 October) to deal with a wide range of issues. Parties are making the first round of views, and several making specific proposals on the draft decisions and recommendations from the subsidiary bodies under the CBD that have been working since COP10.

On 9 October, Working Group II dealt with financial resources and the financial mechanism of the CBD, with specific agenda items on the strategy for resource mobilization, including the establishment of targets; the report of the Global Environment Facility (GEF, that operates the CBD’s financial mechanism); guidance to the financial mechanism: four-year framework of programme priorities and review of effectiveness; and the needs assessment for the sixth GEF replenishment cycle.

The concern and frustration of developed countries were clear. The Philippines said that the various draft decisions on the entire COP agenda to be negotiated “ask more and more of developing countries while we are getting deeper and deeper into an eternal mobilization process that produces nothing but the same old recycled ODA (official development assistance)”.

India strongly emphasised that it would be a “collective failure” if at this stage at this COP, Parties are not able to agree to any measures on resource mobilisation, even if on an interim basis. Then four out of the ten year period of the Strategic Plan would have gone, making it all the more difficult to achieve the targets by 2020. It proposed an interim funding commitment. (The CBD COP meets every 2 years and it would only be in 2014 that the next opportunity to set targets arises.)

Several developing country delegations including Argentina for the Latin America and the Caribbean Group (GRULAC), Kenya for the African Group, Egypt for the Arab Group, and Brazil also stressed that the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity and the Aichi Targets are inextricably linked to a meaningful implementation of the Strategy for Resource Mobilization, including the establishment of targets.

Mexico’s Mr. Damaso Luna, who had chaired the working group that dealt with this issue at the Nagoya COP 10, emphasized that the resource mobilization strategy is part of the Nagoya package and it would be a serious mistake to decide that the adoption of targets need to wait until we get more information. He said that in the climate negotiations, there was no requirement of needs assessment before the decision to mobilize USD 100 billion. He also warned against creating too much expectation on innovative financial mechanisms that have not proved to deliver results in other situations.

On the other hand, developed countries continued to maintain that estimates that exist including that made by the High Level Panel on global assessment of resources for implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 co-sponsored by India and the United Kingdom are not sufficient to warrant a decision. Japan in its statement rejected reference to any numbers in the COP 11 decision.

(The high level panel estimates that a range of USD 130 to 430 billion annually is required to implement the Strategic Plan. A team of five experts commissioned by the CBD Secretariat conducted a needs assessment for the 6th replenishment of the Global Environment Facility estimates that between USD 74 billion and 191 billion will be necessary to assist GEF–eligible countries in activities eligible for GEF funding to achieve the Aichi targets, over the period 2014-2018.)

Developed countries also said that there is insufficient data to establish a robust baseline, and what is meant by “robust” will be a key issue for the negotiations in Hyderabad. The CBD’s Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Review of Implementation (WGRI) at its May 2012 meeting considered using the average of annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006-2010 or a single year during this period as a tentative baseline, but no decision could be reached.

A number of developing countries in their 9 October statements at the Hyderabad Working Group II supported using 2006-2010 as a baseline and also proposed that interim targets be adopted while more data collection and refinement continue to take place in a dynamic manner.

A senior developing country delegate told Third World Network that the Nagoya “package” was accepted by developing countries based on trust – that is, developing countries agreed (with many under great pressure and reluctance) to accept the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing without negotiation of the crucial contentious parts as well as the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, trusting that developed countries will meet their financial commitments and adopt targets for resource mobilization at COP 11. Failure by developed countries to deliver would break that trust, fragile as it is, with serious implications for the CBD and beyond.

The experiences of 25 Parties that used the methodology in the Preliminary Reporting Framework to provide biodiversity-funding data revealed many challenges and difficulties, highlighting that capacity and financial support are needed to conduct this exercise itself.

The outcome from the June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was also cited by many developing countries to augment their positions. The CBD is of the three “Rio Conventions” that, together with the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21 programme of action for the 21st century, constitutes the sustainable development framework adopted in 1992. Many consider this a milestone in multilateral cooperation, with “common but differentiated responsibilities” being a central principle.

(The other two Conventions deal with climate change, and with desertification and land degradation.)

Based on the recommendations from intersessional work and proposals by Parties, a “non-paper” was circulated in the morning of 11 October and this will be the basis for negotiations in a contact group that will meet for the first time the same night.

(The work since COP 10 included development of preliminary reporting framework, CBD’s five-member expert group on needs assessment, the Quito Dialogue Seminar on Scaling up Biodiversity Finance, India-UK High Level Panel, and Geneva Informal Dialogue on CBD’s Strategy for Resource Mobilization.)

On the issue of targets, there are 3 options in paragraph 23 of the non-paper as follows:

“Option 1: [Urges Parties to consider all possible sources and means that can help to meet the level of resources needed, in accordance with Article 20 and consistent with decision X/3];

Option 2: [Urges Parties to meet the level of resources needed, in accordance with Article 20 of the Convention and consistent with decision X/3]

Option 3: [Urges Parties, as appropriate, to support developing countries, countries with economies in transition, countries that are centers of origin and genetic diversity, to achieve the levels of resources required to meet the objectives of the Convention. Also, consider any possible sources and media that can help achieve the level of resources required, in accordance with Article 20 and in accordance with decision X/3.]”

Paragraph 24 addresses the need to re-examine targets as more information is generated:

“[Agrees to re-examine the issue of targets for the Strategy for Resource Mobilization at COP-12, in accordance with decision X/3, as a result of additional submissions from Parties using the Reporting Framework, and provided that robust baselines have been identified and endorsed;]”.

The non-paper offers a formula with a “tentative baseline” and an “overall substantial increase of funding” pending improved information that would allow for the setting of “detailed quantitative targets. This is in paragraph 25 with the Party that made specific proposals indicated accordingly – it reads as follows:

“[Acknowledges [Given] the limitations of the information currently available on biodiversity financing impeded the setting of detailed quantitative targets, and on this understanding, [agrees] decides to strive for an overall substantial increase of funding for biodiversity from all sources using the average of annual biodiversity funding for the years 2006-2010 as a tentative baseline, for the implementation of the Strategic Plan 2011 – 2020 by implementing the strategy for Resource Mobilization, based on the following targets, in light of improved information ;]

[Option 1: 10% compounded annual increase in international flows to developing countries, [ ins particular least developed countries, small island developing states as well as countries with economies in transition] from 2012 to 2020, in line with the ‘Future We Want’ Rio+20 outcome and the Paris Declaration, in particular taking into account the need for ODA to be demand driven;

Option 2: Commit to a 20% compounded annual increase in international financial flows from 2013 to 2020; and commit to a 10% compounded annual increase in domestic funding; (Mexico)

Option 3: Double biodiversity earmarked financial resource flows from developed to developing countries by 2015 and thereafter 20% compounded annual increases from 2015 to 2020; And increase substantially domestic ear marked financial resource from developing countries by 2015 and thereafter 10% compounded annual increases from 2015 to 2020; (Africa)

Option 4: 10% compounded annual increase in international flows to developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, small island developing states as well as countries with economies in transition from 2012 to 2020, in line with the ‘Future We Want’ Rio+20 outcome and the Paris Declaration, in particular taking into account the need for ODA to be demand driven;] (Kiribati)”.

The first preambular paragraph incorporates Rio Principle 7 on common but differentiated responsibilities, and reads:

Reaffirming the commitment of Parties to meet the obligations set out in the provisions of Article 20 of the Convention [and in accordance with the Rio Principles] [as set forth in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development];”

The first meeting of the contact group co-chaired by Belgium and Colombia was held on Thursday night (11 October).