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 “Invest in Nature, Green is Gold” — First China – France - European Union Dialogue of 2021 Mainstream Biodiversity Finance Policy Dialogue Held in Beijing
24 June 2021, Beijing: A conference on biodiversity financing, gathering Chinese and international Financial and Environmental Stakeholders was held in Beijing today. This dialogue was organized by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) in China, co-organized by Global Green Growth Center (GCC) of International Finance Forum (IFF) and supported by the European Union in China.

The conference had the ambition to raise awareness among Chinese financial institutions about biodiversity financing issues, as well as about partnering financial and environmental stakeholders and sharing Chinese, European and international experiences. It was also an opportunity to present the Little Book of Investing in Nature: “A Simple Guide to Financing Life on Earth (known as the “Little Book”)”. 

At this conference, representatives from the EU, France, AFD, Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment, China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission shared insights. This was  followed by a panel discussion of innovative practices on biodiversity finance with representatives from the World Resources Institute, UNDP-BIOFIN, Mirova Investment Fund, and Chinese representatives from Zhejiang Kaihua County Administration, Bank of Qingdao and State-owned forest farm in Fujian Shunchang County.

"Today’s event will contribute to a better understanding of initiatives taken in the EU and in China, as well as at international level, to identify possible financing solutions to the biodiversity challenges faced by all of us, ensuring more convergent and effective approaches by regulators, as well as opportunities for financial institutions and other economic operators.’’ – Nicholas Chapuis, Ambassador of the European Union to China.

“In order to obtain an ambitious agreement during COP15, which France is calling for, it will be essential to have a high level of ambition on the issue of financing, as much innovation as possible regarding financial tools, as well as the broadest possible mobilization of actors” – Laurent Bili, Ambassador of France to China.

This conference is the first event of the 2021 Mainstream Biodiversity Finance Policy Dialogue organized by AFD. The Policy Dialogue is a key component of the China Biodiversity Facility (CBF), a European Union grant managed by AFD in close coordination with the relevant Chinese government departments. The aim of the CBF is to enhance the public policy dialogue between the EU, France and China on biodiversity and natural capital issues by mobilizing high level expertise from both China and Europe to exchange views and share experience on environmental priority topics. The CBF also aims at improving the environmental and social impact of innovative and replicable projects in China, targeting the protection of biodiversity and the fight against climate change, to be funded with AFD loans over the next 8 years. 

The “Little Book” provides an essential overview of the area of biodiversity finance at a time when governments and international negotiators are urgently seeking pragmatic solutions for the twin crises of climate change and the loss of nature. Current estimates suggest that there is a global shortfall of USD 824 billion per year to stop the dramatic pace of biodiversity erosion on our planet. Finance will be a central theme of the COP 15 of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15 CBD) planned to be held in Kunming in October, where new targets for biodiversity protection for the 2021-2030 period are expected to be agreed by global leaders. This book provides guidelines for governments and policy makers involved in setting those targets on how biodiversity protection can be financed.  

China is one of the world's 18 megadiverse countries with the richest number of species and genetic resources,  but it is facing increasing pressures on biodiversity because of population growth, rapid economic development and increased exploitation of natural resources. 

Financial institutions are the main market players in promoting the development of biodiversity finance, playing a key role in China’s green development. Although very interesting actions have been launched recently, it appears that more needs to be done in order to set biodiversity issues as a priority for the financial sector and to foster the interaction between the financial and environmental sectors regarding funding gaps, governance, innovative sources and tools.

Ahead of COP 15, there will be two more dialogues coming as part of the 2021 Mainstream Biodiversity Finance Policy Dialogue of CBF, which will focus on greening financial systems and creating innovative sources and other issues.