Press Release: New biodiversity finance initiative (BIOFIN) to mobilise funds to conserve Uganda’s natural resources

Aug 4, 2015

Conserving Biodiversity: Clearing weeds from lakes and rivers often requires financing and expertise to ensure that valuable marine resources are not destroyed in the process (Photo credit: UNDP Uganda 2014)

Jinja – A new initiative that will help Uganda mobilise expertise and financing to conserve its rich natural resources sustainably, has been launched today. Known as the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN), the project will be implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment, led by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

Developed as a pilot by the United Nations Development Programme, BIOFIN aims to help countries build a sound business case for increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity. This will be achieved through analyzing current expenditures to determine what Uganda’s financing needs are for implementing the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP), and developing and implementing a Biodiversity Finance Plan for resource mobilization.

Available evidence and the decisions adopted by Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UN-CBD) indicate 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 CBD’s Strategic Plan for 2011-2020. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), is a multilateral treaty which aims to conserve biodiversity, promote sustainable use of its components; and fair and equitable sharing of its benefits arising from genetic resources. A preliminary assessment conducted under the auspices of the High-level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the CBD Strategic Plan estimated that the required global investment ranges between U$ 130 and 440 billion annually.

Biological diversity – or biodiversity – is the variety within and between all species of plants, animals and micro-organisms and the environments or ecosystems within which they live and interact. Uganda is well-known for being rich in biodiversity. The population primarily subsists rain-fed agriculture; fish and other marine resources as well as hydroelectric power from lakes and rivers; wildlife to sustain the country’s tourism. These natural ecosystems are also critical in purifying water and air, structure landscapes and prevent soil erosion, and detoxify or decompose wastes. However, the health and sustainability of this biodiversity has been affected by activities such as deforestation, overfishing, wetland encroachment, among others.

"Biodiversity and ecosystem services are the basic building blocks for the well-being of people throughout the world, because they comprise most of what is needed for human survival. These building blocks are also important for our economic growth as we have seen world over that if the biodiversity suffers, so do the economies," said Ms Almaz Gebru in her opening remarks, read by Mr Daniel Omodo McMondo, Programme Analyst, Energy and Environment Portfolio at UNDP Uganda.

She added: "Maintaining these ecosystems and their biodiversity requires a comprehensive understanding of the economic, legal, policy, and financial systems that interact with them.  This is where the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) comes in".

The BIOFIN launch, that was flagged off at the Nile Hotel in Jinja, will include an inception workshop to inform stakeholders about the project’s activities and to build consensus on implementation of the project. BIOFIN is funded by the European Union and the Governments of Germany and Switzerland through UNDP. In addition to Uganda, the initiative is being piloted in 19 other countries, including the Seychelles, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, South Africa, and Zambia.

For more information, please contact:

Daniel Omodo McMondo,

Programme Analyst, Energy & Environment,

UNDP Uganda,

Tel: +256 772289140

Email: daniel.omodo@undp.org

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