The world's biodiversity is in trouble, with wildlife crime, the spread of invasive species, and loss of habitat reducing the number of species. The loss has economy-wide consequences, but biodiversity is especially important for the 870 million rural poor whose livelihoods and safety nets are inextricably linked to natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
Read More »
Among the priorities emerging from the strategy is broadening the uptake of natural capital accounting around the world. This requires changing the thinking about what makes up a nation’s wealth so th... Show More +at natural capital is accounted for and protected.Another emerging agenda is around oceans through a new global partnership. Other areas include low-emissions development strategies, climate adaptation, disaster risk management, and resilience of small island developing states.The strategy includes action plans for the specific environmental challenges in each developing region of the world. For example:In Africa, work will focus on strengthening governance for natural resource management given growing pressure on the region’s agriculture, mining, forests, and water basins. In partnership with other agencies, the private sector, and civil society, the Bank Group is seeking to expand access to clean energy across the region.In East Asia and the Pacific, the Bank Group is supporting renewable energy and energy efficiency, sustainable urban development and transport, as well as prioritizing the phase-out of numerous industrial pollutants; advising on carbon markets and adaptation in agriculture and coastal infrastructure; scaling up forest management; and strengthening regional partnerships to preserve biodiversity.In Europe and Central Asia, where many countries are faced with energy shortages and a legacy of industrial pollution, the Bank Group is promoting clean energy and production while supporting programs to dispose of pollutant stockpiles, rehabilitate watersheds and improve disaster preparedness.In Latin America and the Caribbean, where pressure continues on coastlines, wetlands, and the world’s largest forest cover, the Bank Group is supporting the management of protected areas, the integration of biodiversity conservation into productive landscapes and in some countries, the use of payments for environmental services. It is also providing the world’s most urbanized region with policy advice on cleaner development paths, supporting industrial pollution abatement, and promoting “green cities”.In Middle East and North Africa, where high population density, water scarcity, and overfishing tend primarily to affect the poor, the Bank Group is supporting programs to strengthen the capacity of countries with shared seas—the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Gulf—to reduce marine pollution and manage fisheries. Other focus areas include desert ecosystems and livelihoods; improved urban and industrial planning; scaled-up solar power generation; and efforts to reduce vulnerability to drought.In South Asia, where the poorest live in areas of high soil erosion, variable rainfall, and degraded forests, the Bank Group is helping to strengthen the role of natural resource management in the development agenda, strengthen environmental management in industry and reduce the costs to countries of environmental degradation.The strategy comes out just ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio +20, where world leaders will seek to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development. The conference will assess progress made over the last 20 years and seek agreement on ways to address emerging challenges.The new environment strategy provides a platform for the World Bank Group's support to countries to achieve inclusive green growth—one of the key focus areas of the Rio+20 conference. Show Less -
Project rules and processes need to improve, says World Bank reportMarrakesh, July 5, 2011 – Carbon markets can successfully bring revenue to poor rural communities through reforestation projects but ... Show More +the processes involved need reform and improvement. That is the conclusion of a World Bank report released today which draws on seven years of experience of afforestation and reforestation (A/R) projects in 16 developing countries under the World Bank's BioCarbon Fund (BioCF).The report, released at the Africa Carbon Forum in Marrakesh, Morocco, finds that A/R projects in developing countries face numerous regulatory, capacity, finance and land tenure issues. Despite these barriers, the projects are not only mitigating climate change by contributing to the storage of carbon dioxide, they are also improving rural livelihoods, increasing resilience to climate change, conserving biodiversity, and restoring degraded lands."Since 2004, the World Bank’s BioCarbon Fund has built one of the largest portfolios of afforestation and reforestation projects under the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism (CDM),” said Joëlle Chassard, Manager, Carbon Finance Unit of the World Bank. “When analyzing the most efficient mitigation opportunities in developing countries, it is important to look toward the future while taking stock of what has worked and what has not. This report provides lessons for all involved – project developers, validators, regulators, and national authorities”The BioCF is a public-private initiative mobilizing resources for projects that sequester or conserve carbon in forest- and agro-ecosystems. To date, the Fund has contracted 8.6 million emission reductions from 21 projects, most of which are on degraded lands. More than half of the projects involve planting trees for the purpose of environmental restoration. It demonstrates that land-based activities can generate emission reductions with strong environmental and socio-economic benefits for local communities. The report, The BioCarbon Fund Experience - Insights from Afforestation and Reforestation CDM Projects, documents lessons from the early years of implementing A/R projects in developing countries.It finds that these types of projects have proven challenging to develop and implement. Complex rules for designing CDM projects are among the obstacles, as is land eligibility and non-permanence. Non-permanence, for example the risk that trees burn down and thus lose their carbon stock, is currently addressed through temporary crediting, which can limit the demand for forest carbon assets. The report suggests a number of improvements that could make the implementation of these projects easier for project developers and government officials. “Implementing one of the first afforestation and reforestation projects in Africa was a real challenge,” says Hailu Tefera, Manager of Climate Change Programs at World Vision Ethiopia. “We started developing our tree planting project in 2005 and it took four years to get to CDM registration. It was not easy but well worth the effort and we now hope that others can avoid the pitfalls that slowed us down and implement similar projects – maybe even scaled up – all across our continent”.The first A/R project was registered in China in November 2006. However, it was not until 2009 that more projects followed. A number of issues contributed to the slow start – the rules under the CDM were defined later than projects in other sectors and methodologies for forestry projects were complex and unclear. It took both time and funding to develop the tools required to facilitate their application. Over time, the CDM Executive Board simplified the rules, but adapting to such changes also proved to be a challenge for project developers. The report says that even now, rules will require further simplification to significantly scale up A/R projects under the CDM. A/R projects are now being developed at a faster pace with almost 50 in the pipeline, building on lessons learned, established methodologies and tools. Today, 27 A/R CDM projects are registered with the UNFCCC; 13 of them were developed with the support of the BioCF and, of these, four are in Africa.Some African countries are driving the development of A/R CDM projects. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ibi Batéké reforestation project is set to absorb close to 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide between 2008 and 2037. Also with the support of the BioCF, Africa’s first large-scale reforestation project on Humbo mountain in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley was developed and is now looking to be scaled up.In Moldova, the BioCF s supporting two A/R projects where local farmers are restoring about 30,000 hectares of severely degraded communal and public lands through soil conservation, sustainable timber production, reducing soil erosion and enhancing plant biodiversity. The projects are creating jobs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions that will generate carbon credits."These projects provide a great ‘learning-by doing’ example of the benefits of close cooperation between various stakeholders: international institutions such as the World Bank, local and regional forest enterprises, Moldova’s Forest Research and Management Institute, townships and local communities," said Mr. Anatolie Pupoşoi, General Director of the Forestry Agency Moldsilva. Show Less -
WASHINGTON, April 5, 2011 - The quest to protect globally threatened species received a boost today with the approval by the World Bank’s Board of a US$4.9 million grant from the Global Environment Fa... Show More +cility (GEF) for the Save our Species (SOS) program. SOS – which was officially launched last year at the Convention on Biological Diversity meeting in Nagoya, Japan – is a unique partnership of the GEF, the World Bank, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and private sector sponsors, such as mobile phone supplier and telecom networks provider Nokia. Today’s approved GEF funding – which will support five years of SOS work - is being complemented by an additional $5 million from the World Bank’s Development Grant Facility. The Save Our Species program aims to tackle the challenge of biodiversity loss by matching financial support from private business with international conservation expertise and countries facing species extinction. “Today’s funding approval is a major step in advancing work that’s already underway through SOS,” said Mary Barton-Dock, the World Bank’s Environment Director. “Saving a species requires saving its habitat, landscape and ecosystem. Overcoming the global species extinction is going to take global understanding, global efforts and global resources.” SOS is focusing its fundraising efforts on the private sector to promote on-the-ground action – backed up by worldwide experience of successful species recovery. In 2008, IUCN recorded improvements in the threat status for 40 species – including 37 mammals – as a result of carefully coordinated and implemented conservation action. "Save our Species will become one of the most comprehensive funds for the protection of globally threatened species – and more importantly – with a strong involvement of corporations from developing and developed countries. Businesses will not only bring additional resources to match what the initial partners are contributing, but will certainly help spread the word on biodiversity through their unsurpassed presence throughout all of society’s affairs", said Monique Barbut, CEO and Chairperson of the GEF. SOS is establishing a grants program - with grants ranging from $25,000 to $800,000 awarded to civil society organizations able to show strong conservation outcomes for targeted threatened species. More than 60 grants are expected to be made over five years. Last year, Nokia became the first company to join SOS. The French GEF has also committed to funding the initiative. About the Global Environment Facility The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, NGOs and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest funder of projects to improve the global environment. An independent financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer, and persistent organic pollutants. Since 1991 the GEF has invested $9 billion in grants and leveraged another $40 billion in co-financing for more than 2600 projects in 165 countries. Show Less -
Saint Petersburg/Geneva/Lyon/Vienna/Washington D.C./Brussels, 23 November 2010 - While the majority of the discussions at the International Tiger Forum in Saint Petersburg this week are understandably... Show More + on tiger’s habitats and ecosystems, the heads of five major international agencies have met to seal a powerful alliance to fight wildlife crime effectively and discuss collective actions to stop the key drivers that are bringing the largest of the wild cats to the brink of extinction: poaching, smuggling and illegal trade.The Secretary-General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Secretary-General of ICPO-INTERPOL, the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the President of the World Bank and the Secretary-General of the World Customs Organization (WCO) have signed a Letter of Understanding that brings into effect today the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC).Commenting on the creation of the consortium in this, the UN International Year of Biodiversity, the CITES Secretary-General, Mr Scanlon, said: “ICCWC sends a very clear message that a new era of wildlife law enforcement is upon us, one where wildlife criminals will face a determined and coordinated opposition, rather than the current situation where the risks of detection and of facing penalties that match their crimes are often low. Poaching and illegal trade have brought wild tigers close to the point of no return. Only if we work together, can we ensure that tigers will survive. Our children should inherit the privilege of looking at tigers in the wild and not only behind bars in a zoo. Instead, it is those criminals who poach and smuggle tigers that should be the ones behind bars,” he added.“The threat of wildlife and environmental crime is one which is taken very seriously by INTERPOL as demonstrated by the recent unanimous vote by our General Assembly in support of greater global policing efforts in these areas,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble. “Environmental crime is global theft and as the world’s largest police organization INTERPOL is committed, with the support of each of our 188 member countries, to build on the work already being done in protecting our planet for future generations.”"The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has asked me to convey his strong support of this timely Forum. He welcomes this initiative and expects it to achieve tangible results, " said Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yuri Fedotov. “Wildlife crime frequently involves money laundering, fraud, counterfeiting and violence, and in some cases it may have links to terrorist activities or insurgencies. Ending wildlife crime against tigers and other endangered species, particularly transnational trafficking, requires a coordinated global response. At the national level, we need to strengthen law enforcement capacity to deal with this and environmental crime more broadly. Internationally, we must encourage and develop a culture of cooperation and criminal intelligence sharing to stop transnational trafficking in endangered species.”"Our wildlife is precious and an essential part of the earth's rich biodiversity, making it incumbent upon all of us to stand together and take concerted action to protect endangered species from prevailing threats," said Secretary General of the WCO, Kunio Mikuriya. "Already committed to protecting the environment, the global Customs community is pleased to be a party to this international consortium and I am sure that WCO Member Customs administrations will play a key role in strengthening border controls to combat wildlife crime through enhanced cooperation and the active sharing of vital information, Mikuriya added. “We know what is causing the decline in numbers of wild tigers: illegal poaching, trafficking, and loss of habitat," said World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick. "But the good news is that tiger populations can recover. We have to protect their habitats and ranges; target illegal trade; and find ways that people can benefit more from live tigers than dead ones.” In the run-up to Saint Petersburg summit, an ICCWC concept group provided enforcement-related guidance to the Global Tiger Initiative and drafted the section on combating wildlife crime in the Global Tiger Recovery Program. The ICCWC Letter of Understanding having been signed, the five agencies are now ready to help deliver action on the ground to bring criminals to justice.Although specialized staff from the five agencies have worked together in the past to support national agencies in their efforts to tackle the increasingly organized and sophisticated nature of wildlife crime, this will be the first time that they work collaboratively in this field. ICCWC will bring together the expertise of each agency in a formidable manner.The Letter of Understanding was signed in Lyon by the Secretary-General of CITES, John Scanlon, and Ronald K. Noble, Secretary-General of INTERPOL, and in Brussels by Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General of the World Customs Organization. Two more signatures were placed on the Letter today: those of Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank.The last two signatures having been added to the document today, the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) comes into effect.Protected from international commercial trade through a listing in CITES Appendix I since 1975, tigers still suffer significantly from illegal trade. They are poached for their skins and body parts, which are used for decorative and traditional medicine purposes. It is almost four decades since the world realized that tiger numbers were falling alarmingly. Since the 1970s, governments and the conservation community have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to save this magnificent animal. Those efforts have unfortunately not yet lead to a reverse in the decline in tiger populations, which is why the leaders of tiger range States are meeting in St Petersburg this week. Show Less -