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Development Policy Committee: Safeguarding biodiversity in development policy

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Finland must pay stronger and more consistent attention to biodiversity in its development policy and international advocacy work. In addition, developing countries should be supported in their efforts to implement biodiversity agreements. The view is expressed by the Development Policy Committee’s expert group, whose analysis on safeguarding biodiversity was published on Friday 22 January.

According to the group of experts representing the member organisations of the Development Policy Committee, it is important that biodiversity and the protection of the environment go hand in hand with the fight against climate change in all Finnish activities. The importance of biodiversity is not yet sufficiently reflected in policy guidelines concerning development cooperation, and especially not in practice.

The group of experts considers it important that biodiversity be included in the next government report on development policy, which sets out principles to be applied across government terms. Biodiversity should be approached both as a cross-cutting objective and as a key theme under the fourth priority (climate change and natural resources) of Finland's development policy. This is to safeguard the protection of biodiversity in all development cooperation.

Only a fraction of development finance is targeted at biodiversity

One of the four development policy priorities adopted by Finland emphasises adaptation and mitigation of climate change and the sustainable use of natural resources. However, only small amounts of development finance have been allocated to environmental ends. The OECD’s DAC Peer Review in 2017 highlighted that 17 per cent of Finland´s development finance was allocated to the environmental sector in 2015, while the corresponding figure in the OECD countries was 27 per cent on average.

Funding for biodiversity has been falling sharply since 2011. The majority of the funding allocated by Finland to biodiversity is multilateral funding channelled via international organisations, mainly to the Global Environment Fund (GEF). The work of CSOs is also supported. In contrast, biodiversity has featured very little in bilateral development cooperation in recent years.

Sustainable development builds on biodiversity

The rising challenges of biodiversity, climate change and food security, as well as links between and related to these phenomena are central themes in the work of the Development Policy Committee. Its goal is to strengthen the global dimensions of sustainable development in Finnish decision-making and in Finland’s international advocacy work.

The protection and sustainable use of biodiversity are linked with many sustainable development goals (SDGs). The group of experts notes that Finland must promote the identification of these links in its international advocacy work, because the protection of biodiversity and healthy and well-functioning ecosystems also contribute to the achievement of food security and to poverty reduction. They also mitigate climate change and promote adaptation to it. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that defending the wellbeing of nature is more important than ever for human wellbeing, as the destruction of the environment is one of the root causes of zoonotic diseases. Therefore, Finland must increase direct funding for the environmental sector and for the protection of diversity in the various funding instruments of its development policy. At the same time, all development and climate funding must take into account the effects on biodiversity, the expert group suggests.

Inquiries:

Inka Hopsu, Chairperson of the Development Policy Committee, tel. +358 40 758 9545, inka.hopsu@eduskunta.fi

Marikki Stocchetti, Secretary General of the Development Policy Committee, tel. +358 50 525 8649, marikki.stocchetti@formin.fi

The Development Policy Committee is the only body that conducts systematic and broad-based monitoring and analysis of Finnish development cooperation and development policy. The Government appoints the Committee for each government term. Its members include representatives of parliamentary parties, advocacy organisations, NGOs and universities in the UniPID network (Finnish University Partnership for International Development).

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