Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) towards better resource mobilisation for conservation launched in Uganda

Aug 5, 2015

Hon. Flavia Munaaba, State Minister for Environment, Ministry of Water and Environment (centre) handing over the BIOFIN workbook to Mr. Francis Ogwal (left) of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) which will implement the initiative. Looking on is Mr. Daniel Omodo Mcmondo (right) who represented UNDP’s Country Director, Ms. Almaz Gebru. (Photo Credit: UNDP Uganda 2015)

Jinja - The State Minister for Environment, Hon. Flavia Munaaba yesterday launched the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), a new global partnership seeking to address the biodiversity finance challenge in a comprehensive manner through building a sound business case for increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity.

In Uganda, this initiative is intended to help the government in planning for the country’s rich biodiversity in a strategic and sustainable way which will make it easier to mobilise expertise and financing for its conservation.

While delivering her remarks at the launch event, Hon. Munaaba stated that initiative was important for Uganda because biodiversity contributes significantly to livelihood improvement and national development, citing the tourism sector which is mainly biodiversity based, as having contributed US$2billion to the economy in 2013, up from US$1.7bn in 2011 while accounting for 452,000 new jobs in the same year.

“I am therefore glad that BIOFIN will assist developing countries like Uganda in identifying and accessing other sources of biodiversity funding to help in addressing the biodiversity financing challenge at the national level,” Hon. Munaaba said.

She also called for more efforts on conservation awareness in local communities which rely mostly on bio diversity for their survival to curtail the alarming rate of bio diversity and ecosystem services loss in the country with forest cover reported to be 2.9m hectares in 2012 down from 2.6m hectares in 2005.

Developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with European Union and the Governments of Germany and Switzerland, BIOFIN has two main goals; to develop a new methodological framework for assessing the national context for biodiversity finance and provide recommendations for countries to adopt them.  The other is to help countries adopt and implement this framework.

“BIOFIN seeks to use a financial and economic lens to understand biodiversity as well as ecosystems and how to best achieve effective management of these crucial resources in the most effective manner,” Ms. Almaz Gebru, the UNDP Uganda Country Director said in remarks read on her behalf by Mr. Daniel Mcmondo Omodo, UNDP’s Programme Analyst for Energy and Environment.

This will be achieved through analysing the baseline situation including current expenditures to determine what the country’s financing needs are for implementing the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP) and developing as well as implementing a Biodiversity Finance Plan for resource mobilisation.

Ms. Almaz added that the BIOFIN project will enable UNDP to continue its conservation work in Uganda while looking at the new angle of biodiversity financing which very is crucial in the face of biodiversity loss and climate change.

BIOFIN was started after a realisation that a significant gap remains in finance for biodiversity management, for countries to drastically scale up their efforts and achieve the 20 Aichi Targets defined in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2020.

Uganda in one of the 29 countries across the globe where the initiative is being piloted and the tools developed under it will be applied in 42 other countries UNDP is supporting to develop new generation of NBSAPs. These will also be made available to all United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN-CBD) Parties through the NBSAP Forum coordinated by UNDP together with UNEP-World Conservation and Monitoring Centre (WCMC) and the CBD Secretariat.

In Uganda, BIOFIN will be implemented by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). “This initiative is going to help us in setting up a resource mobilisation unit which will focus on how to get funds for promoting conservation in the country,” Mr. Francis Ogwal, the National Project Coordinator in NEMA said.