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Sealions in Mexico
As the IUCN World Conservation Congress opens in Marseille, major nature-related issues will take center-stage, such as green finance, the interlinked health of animals, human beings and ecosystems, nature-based solutions, and moving towards a nature-positive future. Here, we explain eight key terms, which cover some of the risks we face today, as well as the kinds of solutions that are still possible.

1Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework:

At the next Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), to be held in spring 2022 in China, governments will adopt a new global agreement to promote biodiversity. This agreement should enable the necessary measures to be taken to stabilize the loss of biodiversity by 2030 and to begin to restore it by 2050.

The IUCN Congress is a crucial step in mobilizing the international community to agree on a far-reaching text, which will contribute to this worldwide transition.

2Climate-biodiversity convergence:

There is a close link between climate protection and biodiversity protection: nature is both a victim of climate change and a factor that can make it become more stable. Scientists also believe that at least 30% of the solutions to the effects of climate change can be found in nature (“nature-based solutions”). 

However, only 2% of funds to help the climate currently promote biodiversity. Things are changing, though. Many players, such as France, are calling for defense of the climate and defense of nature to converge in a global struggle for the future of the planet. This is one of the issues at stake at the IUCN World Conservation Congress and at the COPs on biodiversity and climate, which will follow.

See also: 30% of AFD's climate financing will have a biodiversity co-benefit by 2025

3Nature-Positive economy:

In order to meet the current environmental challenges, many stakeholders are calling for a paradigm shift to a pro-nature economy. This consists of making nature a fundamental aspect of the economic fabric, by preserving and restoring large natural areas for example, or by optimizing production methods in order to save natural resources.

A nature-positive – or “pro-nature” economy as it was previously known, is transformational: it covers many aspects of development, such as resilience, equality, access to resources, jobs, sustainable income-generating sectors, women’s empowerment, and well-being.
One thing is certain: investing in nature should not be seen as a cost but as a medium- and long-term benefit.
For AFD Group, supporting the transition to a nature-positive economy means greater care is devoted to selecting investments that benefit biodiversity and to climate-friendly practices and initiatives in all sectors.

See also: Biodiversity: reconciling development with nature


In the context of biodiversity, mainstreaming means ensuring that sectors of the economy and society take better account of biodiversity in their activities. In agriculture, fisheries, urban and territorial planning, extractive industries, and finance, for example, this first involves reducing the impact of those sectors on ecosystems by setting up better practices, and then if possible working so that they can have positive and beneficial effects on those ecosystems. In short, the idea is to make protection of biodiversity a natural procedure.

At AFD Group, our mainstreaming approach is based on three pillars:

  • Strict exclusion of support for activities that cause deforestation, damage to ecosystems of high conservation value, or overexploitation and pollution of nature
  • For all our financing, better control of the risks of impact on biodiversity
  • Mobilizing nature-based solutions (see below)

See also: Combo+, a program with WCS to halt the net loss of biodiversity in six countries in Africa and Asia

5One Health:

One Health is a comprehensive approach to health policies formulated in the early 2000s. It involves taking into account the interdependence between three fields of health: human health, animal health and ecosystem health. In particular, it encourages cooperation among professionals in these various fields. Even more broadly, it seeks to renew our vision of health, aiming at greater effectiveness and better preventing pandemics.
In the past, several viruses have come into contact with humans as a result of environmental degradation. These include Ebola, H5N1, and HIV. The One Health approach gained renewed interest with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.

See also: “‘One Health’: responding to pandemics with a holistic approach to human, animal and environmental health

6Green recovery:

Nature is a source of sustainable and cost-effective solutions. Nonetheless, it has been mostly neglected in governmental recovery and stimulus plans during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the IUCN Congress, several stakeholders will call on governments to do more to green their stimulus plans.

See also: Covid-19 and disruption of the biosphere: a step into the unknown

7Nature-based solutions:

The IUCN defines this term as all actions aimed at protecting, sustainably managing and restoring natural or modified ecosystems in order to directly address societal challenges.

Forests, for example, capture large amounts of CO2 and are therefore essential in the fight against climate change. Preserving them is therefore a crucial issue. A global standard to better identify and operationalize these nature-based solutions is currently being adopted.

See also:Nature-based solutions in Northern China

8Greening finance:

This is one of the major challenges linked to the biodiversity crisis, and it will be a focus of discussions at the World Conservation Congress. It involves “greening” international financial players, i.e. seeing that they stop supporting projects that harm ecosystems and also that they invest massively to conserve them.

It is estimated that the needs for financing global biodiversity will be between $722 billion and $967 billion per year by 2030. However, only $124 billion to $143 billion is actually being devoted to such financing, i.e., six times less than the needs.

Public development banks have a crucial role to play here: they must interest investors—especially private investors—in projects that benefit biodiversity, while at the same time discourage them from making harmful investments.

See also: The Little Book of Investing in Nature