30 Aug 2022
Venue: Centre International de Conférences Genève (CICG) & Online | Webex & Online | Webex
Bridging the INTECOL and Geneva communities together, the Geneva Environment Networking Bars are held in the margins of INTECOL 2022: “Frontiers in Ecology: Science and Society”, hosted by the University of Geneva and its partners, at the Geneva International Conference Center in Geneva (CICG), from 28 August to 2 September 2022. These networking sessions open to Geneva stakeholders discussed topics that are at the center of the global environmental agenda.
Geneva: Global Hub for Environmental Governance
Environmental issues entered the international agenda in the early 1970s, but even prior to that, institutions based in the Geneva region have greatly contributed to develop the global environmental governance system. Since then, the Geneva region has hosted various historical meetings and negotiations, and welcomed new organizations focusing on environmental-related issues.
Today, the “Grand Genève” region, where many international organizations, forums, federations and non-governmental organizations have their headquarters, continues its role as an important center for international environmental policy.
INTECOL 2022 in Geneva
The International Congress of Ecology 2022 (INTECOL 2022), hosted by the University of Geneva and its partners, will take place from 28 August to 2 September 2022 at the CICG Geneva – Geneva International Conference Center in Geneva, under the theme “Frontiers in Ecology: Science and Society”.
Geneva welcoming INTECOL 2022 is therefore an opportunity to link the INTECOL and Geneva international communities on topics that are at the center of the global environmental agenda.
Two hybrid networking sessions – Geneva Environment Networking Bars – open to Geneva communities were proposed in the margins of INTECOL 2022. These sessions were facilitated by the Geneva Environment Network (GEN) and the University of Geneva. With the 8th edition of Alternatiba Leman taking place during the same week of INTECOL 2022, a special session also focused on synergies with local and global climate action.
About this Session
A total investment in nature of USD 8.1 trillion is required between now and 2050 – while annual investment should reach USD 536 billion annually by 2050 – to successfully tackle the interlinked climate, biodiversity, and land degradation crises, according to the State of Finance for Nature report released in May 2021.
This session involved key Geneva-based institutions, looking at private nature-finance approaches, including public incentives for private finance: bringing nature to the heart of financial decision-making, highlighting latest developments in placing financial value on biodiversity, and redirecting financial flows across the global economy towards nature-positive solutions.
Organized a few weeks ahead of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Global Roundtable 2022 – the major global agenda-setting event on sustainable finance, Building Bridges 2022 – a Geneva-based initiative that aims to accelerate the transition to a global economic model aligned with the SDGs, the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15), and the Sharm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP27), this event was the occasion to explore finance for nature.
Head, Climate Finance Unit, UNEP
Nature Lead, UNEP Finance Initiative
Head of Sustainability Research, Lombard Odier
Managing Director, Sustainable Finance Geneva & Building Bridges
Professor at the Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE), University of Geneva | Moderator
To be continued.
Welcome and Introduction
Anthony LEHMANN | Professor at the Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE), University of Geneva | Moderator
- It was important to allow nature biologists attending INTECOL to know what is happening in the world of finance, looking at ecosystems, living organisms and the what the value of nature is and how it is looked at from this perspective.
- Important meetings related to this agenda are coming up, UN Biodiversity Conference COP-15, Climate Change COP-27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, the Global Roundtable on “Transforming Finance, Accelerating Change” in October and the Building Bridges initiative here in Geneva.
The State of Finance for Nature
Ivo MULDER | Head, Climate Finance Unit (CFU), UN Environment Programme
Working on the intersection between biodiversity, climate and finance for about 10-15 years in various capacities, in the last few years with UNEP, I’ve been helping build a number of funds and facilities to actively help catalyze public and private finance towards projects that have a positive impact on nature, climate, and rural communities.
We need a fundamental rethink and a paradigm shift in how we deal with biodiversity and climate in our societies and economic systems.
- About half our global economy is dependent on nature so despite the fact that scientists and the international community have been saying that it’s important, humanity hasn’t acted. We seem to be paralyzed: we know this is not good but we’re incapable of moving to the extent necessary, and the window available turn the tables around is quickly being diminished.
- UNEP is good at stating what the problem is, in putting out global reports on the Global Environmental Outlook, but what we need right now are the solutions. More attention and money will go towards organizations and businesses that do contribute to the problems we’re facing. The Climate Finance Unit has actively worked on a number of funds and facilities to catalyze private finance. We’re also contributing to normative changes and that includes the report “State of Finance for Nature” quantifying how much public employment capital flows are going towards nature-based solutions and putting that in the context of the Conventions around land degradation, nature and climate.
We’re contributing to creating social, environmental impact, communication, and building coalitions and partnerships around the State of Finance for Nature.
- This is a report that aims to quantify how much money is being invested into nature and nature-based solutions nature-based, from greening roofs in cities and ensuring green islands in cities, to investing in mangroves as a natural protection against storm floods. The amount we found with support of Vivid-McKinsey is around 130 billion dollars a year, most of that is in the form of government domestic spending and most of it in G20 countries.
- If you look at it how much money is actually necessary, there is at least a four-fold increase necessary to meet the biodiversity, climate and restoration commitments. Most of that investment needs are in non-G20 countries that have much less fiscal freedom to invest in nature. At the same time overseas development assistance (ODA) is not at the level where it needs to be to make that shift.
- Private investment in NbS has a small share of G20’s NbS spending at 11% (and 14%, based on the global report). The report shows that without the private sector and given that governments are in debt following the COVID-19 crisis, it is unlikely even though necessary for governments to massively scale public money. The interesting question is how do we incentivize private finance to do things differently from banks and investors to agribusinesses, etc.?
The Climate Finance Unit is a team of about 30 professionals in Geneva and in different locations.
- We’ve helped to unlock about 17 million in in public concessional finance over the past three years, which directly helped unlock 160 million in private capital and different kinds of funds. In terms of debt and equity in Brazil, Indonesia, China and Ecuador, that equals about 316 million. It’s a good achievement with a relatively small team but in the billions of changes that we need, it is, of course, a drop in the ocean.
- There are many other examples that are already happening to help unlock private finance, whether in private equity or in corporate lending as in sovereign bonds. An interesting sovereign bond launched by the World Bank called the rhino bonds where payments are dependent on the increase in populations of black rhinos. A lot is possible, but the speed of change is too slow for the urgency of the crisis that we’re facing. Both domestic spending by government ODA and private investment need to scale up. We need to revisit the under-valued and unappreciated topic is the notion of repurposing trade tariffs and agricultural fiscal policies.
Up-scaling Private Sector Financial Flows to Nature
- Jessica SMITH | Nature Lead, UNEP Finance Initiative
A Private Institution from Geneva: Lombard Odier and Nature
- Thomas HÖHNE-SPARBORTH | Head of Sustainability Research, Lombard Odier
Advancing Sustainable Finance from Geneva, including for Nature
- Sandrine SALERNO | Managing Director, Sustainable Finance Geneva & Building Bridges
Conclusion and Wrap-up
- Sustainable Finance and Geneva | GEN Update
- INTECOL 2022
- United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative Global Roundtable 2022
- Building Bridges 2022
- UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP15)
- State of Finance for Nature report | UNEP, WEF, ELD & Vivid Economics | 27 May 2021
- State of Finance for Nature in the G20 report | | UNEP, WEF, ELD & Vivid Economics | 26 January 2022
- Net Zero and Nature Positive Finance: Accelerating Sustainable Land-Use Investments for People and Planet | UNEP Climate Finance Unit | 10 March 2022
- A Typology of Risks to Increase Investment in Indigenous and Community-led Landscapes | UNEP FI | 29 June 2022
- UNEP FI and Nature