The Rio Conventions Pavilion continued on Tuesday, 19 June 2012, convening for Financing Sustainable Development Day. The event consisted of two sessions on natural capital solutions - protected areas meeting global environmental challenges, and investing in natural capital in Africa, Asia and Latin America - partnerships, policies and investments. The day concluded with a pre-launch reception for Mozambique’s Green Economy Roadmap.
NATURAL CAPITAL SOLUTIONS: PROTECTED AREAS MEETING GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES
Introducing the session, Nik Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN/World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA), said the aim of the discussions was to demonstrate that if well located and managed, Protected Areas (PAs) offer long term opportunities to address the challenges of sustainability and contribute to the green economy.
Kathy MacKinnon, Vice-Chair, IUCN/WCPA, provided an overview of progress towards achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 11 on expanding PAs. She noted that while progress has been made, much more needs to be done to make a compelling case for the contribution of PAs and other natural ecosystems to adaptation and sustainable development. On how to scale up action, she emphasized a three-pronged strategy aimed at protecting, connecting and restoring PAs, and mainstreaming them into infrastructure projects, adaptation strategies and development planning.
On financing, she stressed that the annual cost of expanding PAs of US$ 23 billion dollars could be generated through: improved natural capital accounting; leveraging Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding; and supporting the PA approach in the climate funds and REDD+ mechanisms.
PROTECTED AREAS - NATURAL SOLUTIONS TO GLOBAL CHALLENGES: Trajano Quinhões, Head, Protected Areas Program for Amazonia, Brazil, spoke of challenges and benefits of the Amazon PA programme, which includes the largest river in the world and diverse landscapes important for carbon storage, and ecosystem and biodiversity protection. Quinhões emphasized the importance of investment for creating and managing conservation units, noting its respective endowment funds of US$ 24 million and € 20 million.
Yildiray Lise, UNDP, presented a case study of the Küre Mountains National Park, a UNDP/GEF supported project to enhance forest PA management that is one of 25 projects nominated for the Rio+20 best practice awards. He noted the project was one of the first in the world to apply the PA Benefit Assessment Tool, which facilitated valuation of ecosystem services and expansion of the multifunctional planning and monitoring approach to the buffer zone around the forest. Highlighting the project’s contribution to sustainable tourism, he said the approach would be replicated in other ecosystem hotspots in the country.
Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, CBD Executive Secretary, emphasized “implementation, implementation and implementation” as his main priority at the CBD. He called for parties at COP 11 to agree on targets for resources and additional mobilization of funds, critical for capacity building and implementation. He stressed the need to: expand new and improve existing PAs; promote marine protection areas (MPAs), noting ongoing negotiations on protection of biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction; recognize and support PAs on indigenous lands and under private ownership; and integrate the PAs agenda with that of food security and sustainable agriculture.
Paul Grimes, Secretary, Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Populations and Communities, Australia, discussed the recent creation of a major network of MPAs in Australia, covering more than a third of Commonwealth waters to form the largest network of marine reserves in the world.
Grimes and Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Deputy Director General, IUCN, announced the upcoming IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) in Sydney, Australia, with Engberg-Pedersen noting the WPC will focus on: how to invest in management of community- and area-based PAs; interaction of PAs with global development challenges, including climate change mitigation; food security; and disaster management.
ROLE OF PROTECTED AREAS LAW IN ACHIEVING NATURAL SOLUTIONS: This session was chaired by Nik Lopoukhine, Chair, IUCN/WCPA. Olivier Chassot, WCPA, presented lessons from the implementation of the San Juan-La Selva Biological Corridor connecting PAs in Chile and other countries in the region. Describing the project as the most advanced connectivity initiative in Latin America, he noted it offers practical tools for linking biodiversity conservation, climate change responses and sustainable land management. He characterized the main success factors as: the establishment of strong links between civil society, academic communities and local authorities; a transparent and inclusive partnership approach; clear guidelines for local governments on how to establish and implement regulatory frameworks; and financial incentives for landowners to protect their forests.
Puri Canals, President, MedPAN, presented work at the Mediterranean PAs involving 21 countries and 200 marine protected and coastal areas aiming to: increase management efficiency; monitor and collect data on climate change impacts on Mediterranean biodiversity; develop strategies to adapt to, mitigate and counter negative climate change effects to maximize ecosystem services, and foster a green and blue economy with sustainable tourism and fisheries.
Nik Sekhran, UNDP, reported findings from Namibia where climate change impacts, including increasing water scarcity and drought, are expected to make existing environmental variability more acute. He emphasized that heat and water stress will have severe impacts on wildlife, livestock and agriculture, and thus on food security.
Russell Mittermeier, President, Conservation International, provided an overview of conservation commitments around the world, stressing that the Aichi Biodiversity Targets do not go far enough, and there is need to send a stronger message that ecosystem protection is a fundamental component in the transition to a green economy. He welcomed the creation of the Global Oceans Partnership, noting it will help to maintain momentum for the expansion and management of PAs.
Julia Miranda Londoño, Director, Parques Nacionales Naturales, Colombia, reported there are 56 parks currently, covering 10% of the total land area in Colombia. Highlighting a range of ecosystem services benefits, including provision of fresh water supplies, hydropower generation, carbon storage, ecotourism and preserving the cultural heritage, Londoño described several ongoing research projects to monitor the contribution of PAs to climate change resilience.
Taghi Farvar, Center for Sustainable Development (CENESTA), emphasized empowering indigenous peoples and local communities currently threatened by expropriation, forced eviction and destructive practices of “development,” and recognizing their capacity and rights to conserve and govern their territories in line with their culture. He noted indigenous peoples have conserved nature, secured livelihoods and protected the world’s “jewels of biodiversity” for thousands of years.
In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the need to enhance the legal rights of Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Areas and Territories (ICCAs) and called for this issue to be a core theme at the 2014 WPC in Sydney. One participant expressed concern about the impact of the growing use of new technologies to prospect for oil and minerals in fragile ecosystems and ICCAs.
With regard to the contribution of the private sector, panelists highlighted a number of best practices, ranging from incentive schemes for biodiversity protection on private land to provision of basic services for neighboring communities.
INVESTING IN NATURAL CAPITAL IN AFRICA, ASIA AND LATIN AMERICA: PARTNERSHIPS, POLICIES AND INVESTMENTS
Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International, opened the session saying natural capital is about charting a course to sustainable development. He said the term captures the importance of biodiversity and natural systems to support economies and societies. He noted the increasing strain humans are putting on ecological systems, while highlighting options to address these issues by bringing natural capital into the development equation.
Bindu Lohani, Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank (ADB), emphasized Asia needs to move to a new inclusive, green and knowledge-based growth model. Noting Asia’s US$ 8 trillion in projected infrastructure investments in clean energy, water and water conservation measures, sustainable transport, and urban areas, he stressed the region’s unique population conditions require regionally-specific developments in these sectors.
NATURAL CAPITAL PARTNERSHIPS: This panel was chaired by Juan Pablo Bonilla, Chief Advisor to the Executive Vice President, Inter-American Development Bank (IADB).
Alcinda Antonio de Abreu, Minister for the Coordination of Environment Affairs, Mozambique, underscored the importance of natural capital to sustainable development and the transition to a green economy. She highlighted a recent conference with Kenya and Tanzania that aimed to develop a common road map to a green economy and to collaborate on the integration of the Strategic Environmental Assessment into future green economy planning processes.
Kuntoro Mangusubroto, Minister, Presidential Working Unit on Monitoring and Controlling Development, Indonesia, discussed how Indonesia is involving regional governments and empowering local communities, and taking a practical approach to promote sustainable development and protect Indonesia’s vast biological and indigenous diversity. He stressed the importance of sharing experiences and lessons learned from various forest projects to understand how a green economy could work on the ground to achieve sustainable development. Focusing on impact, he underscored “what matters is decreasing deforestation and increasing welfare for indigenous peoples and local communities.”
Daniel Chacon, Coordinator of Advisors to the Director General, CONAGUA, Mexico, presented a new joint initiative with the IADB and WWF to create water reserves for the environment as a climate change adaptation measure. Noting this approach recognizes the environment as a legitimate water user, he said the project has conducted feasibility studies in 728 basins and identified 19 priority basins for further action. He said the project would be implemented as a public-private partnership, with involvement of civil society and research institutions, and would further explore the possibility of initiating transboundary environmental water reserves in collaboration with the US.
Terezya Huvisa, Minister of State, Vice President’s Office of the Environment, Tanzania, highlighted the importance of national natural capital assessments, including on carbon storage, water supply and biodiversity sources to enable investments in natural capital and green partnership initiatives to achieve food and water security.
PROMOTING INVESTMENTS TO SUSTAIN NATURAL CAPITAL AND SUPPORT TRANSITIONS TO GREEN ECONOMIES: The panel discussion was facilitated by Jim Leape, WWF International. Highlighting China’s experience in forest management, Shen Guofang, China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, described China’s efforts to reverse deforestation, noting the country had invested more than YMB 300 billion in the past six years alone. He said that forest cover was set to double to 24% by 2030.
Juan Pablo Bonilla, IADB, underscored working with planning and finance ministers to raise awareness on the importance of biodiversity in national capital accounting. He stressed that national funding is essential in “working from local to global” to demonstrate what works and leverage international support.
Aiuba Cuereneia, Minister for Planning and Development, Mozambique, stressed that African Development Bank (AfDB) support not only provides money but capacity building, which is critical in ensuring sustainability.
Javed Mir, ADB, noted that connectivity is an important element for a green economy. He discussed strategic choices made in the Greater Mekong sub-region, including: taking a sustainable development approach; employing a top-down governance framework for guidance and discipline, as well as a bottom-up approach to empower communities; and implementing a business model focused on improving competitiveness, connectivity and communities.
Nicole Glineur, GEF, underscored instrumental partnerships between governments and international financial institutions, and the private sector and civil society organizations without which “there is no future.”
Responding to a question on what assurances the private sector can expect from the Rio+20 conference, Leape and Bonilla emphasized that assurances are best sought at the national level. Leape advised businesses to proceed on the basis of the “self-evident business proposition that the future belongs to those companies that move forward on the sustainability agenda.”
On how to convince political leaders to invest in natural capital, Cuereneia stressed that this is not a new concept, but noted the need for more work to mainstream natural capital accounting in planning processes.
Observing that “seeing is believing,” Mir noted the value of good pilot programmes in bringing political leaders on board. Leape highlighted recent WWF campaigns that focus on connecting biodiversity to people’s lives.
In closing remarks, Simon Mizrahi, AfDB, highlighted some lessons from practice. He noted that development practitioners, “do not measure success by the money spent but by the lasting changes brought to people’s lives.” He emphasized that the development sector’s understanding of what this means is changing rapidly to integrate the ecological infrastructure and the values it provides.