BIOFIN: Validation Workshop, Biodiversity Finance PlanDec 8, 2017
Programme Director or Directress, Flora Mokgolhoa
Department of Environmental Affairs Deputy Director General for Biodiversity and Conservation,Mr Shonisani Munzhedzi
Representatives from DEA, especially CD Wadzi Mandivenyi, SANParks; and SANBI;
Representatives from Provinces;
Representatives from Municipalities;
the private sector;
Mr Onno Van den Heuvel, Tracy Cummings and my UNDP colleagues,
Colleagues and Friends in the Biodiversity sector,
All protocols observed,
On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to this Biofin validation workshop.
What brings us here today involves the vision to generate sustainable financial resources for nature. It is a defining moment because it is the starting point in the life cycle of Project BIOFIN, where the goal is to finance the conservation and management of nature.
Biodiversity, ecological infrastructure, and ecosystem services form the foundation of South Africa’s economy. From tourism to fishing; farming; and industry, - products and services from nature provide incomes, create jobs, and improve livelihoods in rural and urban areas.
By collaborating with you and your organisations though Project BIOFIN, our vision is a country where the gap between current expenditure and funding needs is greatly reduced.
Project BIOFIN has developed a Biodiversity Finance Plan. The aim of the Biodiversity Finance Plan is to ensure that the country’s biodiversity is protected and maintained through adequate financing. We envision better spending of existing funds, reduced costs associated with conservation and management; an increase in funding from new, innovative sources and existing sources; and prevention of unintended neutral or harmful expenditures. In other words, maximised impact through wise expenditure.
UNDP provides support to over 177 countries and territories around the world to empower lives and build resilient nations by helping countries deliver on the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals. And so, from the vantage point of UNDP, Project BIOFIN which operates in 31 countries, offers unique opportunities to put South Africa on the global map. No other country where UNDP works can showcase anything similar regarding the implementation of financial solutions for biodiversity at this magnitude. Only South Africa can.
United local and global efforts are powerful ingredients in the recipe for change, and hereby, I acknowledge the financial support from the European Union, and the governments of Germany, Switzerland, Flanders and Norway towards Project BIOFIN. The core BIOFIN team is composed of colleagues in the Department of Environmental Affairs, and UNDP national and global. BIOFIN colleagues from Colombia, the US and Europe have been working hard these past five days with the most senior principals in the Department of Environmental Affairs. We thank them profusely for their sterling work that has led to the Biodiversity Finance Plan under discussion here today. The interest and quality of high-level engagements convinces me that Project BIOFIN will be a highly successful venture in South Africa.
On behalf of the organisers and sponsors of this workshop, I express my gratitude for making BIOFIN South Africa Week a great success.
I wish you well at this workshop today.