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Canada’s international biodiversity financing

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Biodiversity is the foundation of all life on earth, from micro-organisms to plants, animals and human life. Various ecosystems provide humans with clean water, air, fertile soil, food, medicine and climate control. However, this life-supporting safety net is under immense stress. Millions of species are at risk of extinction, and the intensive extraction of certain components of biodiversity has come at the expense of everything else. With climate change both contributing to and being exacerbated by biodiversity loss, Canada recognizes that biodiversity loss poses a fundamental threat to the planet, people and global economy.

The greatest impacts of biodiversity loss are being felt in developing countries, where most of the world’s biodiversity is found. If unchecked, biodiversity loss will damage decades of hard-won poverty reduction gains. Significant impacts to food insecurity can be expected as biodiversity loss undermines the capacity of agricultural systems to adapt to changing climate conditions and other shocks, such as outbreaks of pests and diseases.

Gender inequalities and development gaps amplify the effects for women, especially for those who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. Biodiversity loss worsens existing social inequalities, putting the rights of women and girls at stake. It also puts the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the original guardians of the land, at stake.

Our global efforts to reduce the effects of biodiversity loss

International Climate Finance

At the G7 Leaders’ Summit in June 2021, Canada announced that at least 20% of our $5.3-billion international climate finance commitment would be allocated to projects that leverage nature-based solutions and contribute biodiversity co-benefits. Canada recognizes that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is also crucial to mitigating and adapting to climate change. However, this international climate finance commitment focuses on climate change, which is only one of the key drivers of biodiversity loss.

Support to the Global Environment Facility

Canada is also contributing $241.8 million to the eighth replenishment of the Global Environment Facility (GEF-8), the official financial mechanism of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. With its new financial cycle, the GEF-8 envelope has exceeded US$5.33 billion and includes approximately US$1.89 billion dedicated to biodiversity action. In addition, the ambition is to have 60% of all Global Environment Facility (GEF) financing deliver biodiversity benefits.

International Biodiversity Program

In December 2022, the 15th UN Biodiversity Conference in Montréal was marked by the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This ambitious agreement outlines a global agenda to help transform humanity’s relationship with nature by 2030 and fulfill the shared vision of living in harmony with nature by 2050. This will be done in part by conserving 30% of the world’s lands and oceans by 2030 while ensuring that at least 30% of its degraded ecosystems are under restoration. The agreement calls for US$20 billion per year by 2025 and US$30 billion per year by 2030 to flow from developed to developing countries. A wider goal is to mobilize at least US$200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity funding from all sources by 2030.

The framework addresses the 5 direct drivers of global biodiversity loss: land- and sea-use change, the overexploitation of species, invasive alien species, pollution, and climate change. It also addresses many indirect drivers of biodiversity loss such as unsustainable production and consumption, and subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity. The 23 targets under the framework are categorized into the following 3 thematic areas:

Parties requested that a new fund be established at the GEF as a result of a negotiated compromise to support the restoration and conservation of biodiversity in developing countries. Canada committed to this stated goal and announced it would provide $350 million to support developing countries to implement the framework. This funding constitutes Canada’s first dedicated funding to international biodiversity.

1. Guiding principles

The International Biodiversity Program falls under the environment and climate action area of Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy. Halting and reversing biodiversity loss requires real collaboration and partnership, including with women and Indigenous Peoples.

The program focuses on halting and reversing biodiversity loss by addressing its direct drivers beyond climate change—namely, land- and sea-use change, the overexploitation of species, invasive alien species, and pollution, as well as agriculture.

All programming under the commitment is guided by 3 principles:

Through this program, Canada partners with Indigenous Peoples and local communities, NGOs and bilateral and multilateral entities.

2. Subprograms

The International Biodiversity Program is composed of the following subprograms.

3. Expected results

To ensure that quality data is collected and shared, Canada’s International Biodiversity Program will remain grounded in quality evidence that reflects the evolving nature of biodiversity science, policy development and the international biodiversity finance landscape. The program aims to:

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Ultimate outcome: Improved health of biodiversity and key ecosystems on which people depend, especially the poorest and most vulnerable

Policy objectives / impact goals

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