by Paula Arreglo and Rafael Panday
The recent launch of the global report The Economics of Biodiversity: Dasgupta Review has once again revitalized discussions around the question: “How does one live a sustainable life and help restore the Earth?” These conversations come at a timely opportunity in the recent 22 April celebration of Earth Day. With the report asserting that “our economies are embedded within nature, not external to it,” economic and environmental experts alike are now compelled to think about sustainable ways forward for people, planet, and profit.
In line with this, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has initiated a webinar series on Conservation Financing. The first session of the webinar series, Introduction to Economics of Biodiversity and Conservation Finance, was held virtually on 7 April.
“Our economies are embedded within nature, not external to it.”
In her welcome remarks, ACB Executive Director Theresa Mundita S. Lim emphasized the roles of healthy ecosystems in providing essential services such as water, clean air, flood mitigation, and food supply. “Being able to value these contributions will present an even better case why one should pay closer attention to our high biodiversity areas such as our protected areas and ASEAN Heritage Parks, and invest in them,” she said.
The protected areas and ASEAN Heritage Parks that Lim mentioned are crucial in sustaining natural capital and its accompanying ecosystem services. They supply raw materials for most industries that drive the region’s economy. However, insufficient financing hinders the sustainable management of these critical areas.
In the webinar, Dr. David Matthey Meyers, Executive Director of Conservation Finance Alliance, defined conservation finance as “mechanisms and strategies that generate, manage, and deploy financial resources and align incentives to achieve nature conservation outcomes.” He discussed different funding tools available for conservation.
Dr. Meyers also shared seven finance mechanisms to bridge the USD 316 billion finance gap and increase capital conservation. These are Return-Based Investments, Economic Instruments, Grants and Other Transfers, Business and Markets, Public Financial Management, Risk Management, and Financial Efficiency.
Conservation Financing for 5 ASEAN Heritage Parks
ACB collaborates with the European Union to implement the Biodiversity Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in ASEAN (BCAMP) Project. The project aims to enhance biodiversity conservation and effectively manage the protected areas in the ASEAN to halt biodiversity loss.
Under the BCAMP funding support, ACB initiated an ongoing study on Conservation Financing for five AHPs to address the insufficient financing for protection and management of protected areas.
In the session, the study’s preliminary results for the Eastern Forest Complex (EFCOM) in Thailand and Virachey National Park in Cambodia were discussed.
Protected area managers and key environmental officials from different AMS also shared possible efforts in augmenting revenue and diversifying funding sources for the conservation of biodiversity across the region.
The second session of the webinar series, an in-depth discussion of the economics of biodiversity following the recommendations of the Dasgupta Review, was held on April 27, 2021. The webinar also discussed the actions and priorities within the context of the ASEAN and investing in nature and activities related to biodiversity and protected areas. The public can access the recording of the session on the official Facebook page of the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity.
The ACB is an intergovernmental organization established in 2005 that serves as ASEAN’s response to the challenge of biodiversity loss. It facilitates coordination and cooperation among ten ASEAN Member States (AMS) on regional biodiversity conservation programs.
Based on a press release from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).