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Speeches & Transcripts October 12, 2021

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at the United Nations COP-15 Part 1 Biodiversity Conference High-Level Segment: “Aligning Finance and Building Capacity for an Ecological Civilization”

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Biodiversity is a global public good.  We at the World Bank Group believe it’s also a key development issue. Our research estimates that Low-Income Countries could forego around 10 percent of their GDP annually by 2030 if select ecosystem services, such as those of forests, fisheries and pollinators, collapse.

Biodiversity and climate change are closely interlinked, with terrestrial and marine ecosystems serving as critically important carbon sinks. At the same time climate change acts as a direct driver of biodiversity and ecosystem services loss.

The World Bank has financed biodiversity conservation around the world, including over 116 million hectares of Marine and Coastal Protected Areas, 10 million hectares of Terrestrial Protected Areas, and over 300 protected habitats, biological buffer zones and reserves.

In the Solomon Islands, for example, the World Bank and MIGA are supporting developing of a Biodiversity Action Plan as part of the Tina River Hydropower Project.

In China, host of this historic COP, building on a 40-year partnership, the WBG supports forestry, landscape, and river basin management programs that improve ecological outcomes. In the Lower Mekong Region, which hosts the third largest tropical forest area in the world, we’re helping bring sustainable forest landscapes to scale.

In Turkey, we support resilient landscapes integration that enhances livelihoods for forest communities through erosion control, forest rehabilitation and income generation.

In Ethiopia, 900,000 hectares of land have been conserved, benefiting 2.5 million people through improved water access, food security, and land tenure.

IFC recently committed its first $300 million blue loan in Indonesia for recycling 50 billion PET bottles a year by 2025 to help address the problem of plastic pollution.

Many of our investments in biodiversity benefit the poorest countries, which are least equipped to protect it. That’s why nature-based solutions are a critical component of our new Climate Change Action Plan. And that’s why we’re discussing with shareholders, under the IDA20 replenishment, ways to step up support to address biodiversity loss, and its detrimental impact on the poorest developing countries.

This replenishment is an opportunity for the World Bank Group to make an even greater contribution to biodiversity, with higher levels of support for nature-based solutions, restoration of landscapes, and integrated and sustainable management of coastal and marine ecosystems.

Let me cite a few examples of how we’re stepping up support for biodiversity in low-income countries:

On Marine and Ocean Resources, we will enhance World Bank support to low-income countries to sustainably manage marine and ocean resources. This means an expanded focus on ocean and marine ecosystems, addressing marine plastics and reducing marine pollution.

Because we believe that the private sector has a role to play on biodiversity, IFC, the Group’s private sector arm, is planning to integrate biodiversity considerations at the earliest stages of planning, particularly for the agriculture and infrastructure sectors.

And finally, on Nature and Global Frameworks, we will help low-income countries implement their national priorities on biodiversity and climate change in the context of global frameworks such as the Convention on Biological Diversity and Paris Agreement.

We have mainstreamed environmental sustainability into the investment projects we finance, all over the world. The principles embedded in our Environmental and Social Framework and Performance Standards have been adopted globally by banks, companies, and policymakers.  These frameworks recognize that protecting and conserving biodiversity and sustainably managing natural resources is fundamental to sustainable development, and to the lives and livelihoods of communities, including indigenous peoples.

The COVID pandemic, biodiversity loss, climate change are all reminders of how connected we are.  The recovery from this pandemic is an opportunity to put in place more effective policies, institutions, and resources to address biodiversity loss.

We look forward to the outcome of negotiations on the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in the second part of this CBD COP.

Thank you.