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UN moves to address linked climate change, biodiversity, desertification threats

Executive Secretaries of the United Nations (UN) Biological Diversity, Climate Change, and Desertification Conventions are calling for the establishment of a Facility to secure finance for large projects that will help to address common issues.

António Guterres  UN moves to address linked climate change, biodiversity, desertification threats Gutteres e1496268693302

UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. Photo credit: UN /Mark Garten

“We are calling for the establishment of a new Project Preparation Facility to bridge this gap and promote an integrated, coherent and multi-disciplinary approach to these related issues while supporting the respective mandates of the three Rio Conventions,” they said in a joint statement issued on Monday, November 13, 2017 by the Executive Secretaries at the UN Climate Change Conference 2017 (COP23) taking place in Bonn, Germany.

“There is strong demand for a Rio Conventions Project Preparation Facility to help finance large-scale, transformative projects that deliver multiple benefits in addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the Desertification Convention.

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Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said “the need for supporting improved proposal design and structuring the investment case for multi-dimensional projects is the core mandate of this Facility.”

“This Facility will help access project funding for a wide variety of sources, including blended finance and public private partnerships,” said Cristiana Paşca Palmer, Executive Secretary of the Biological Diversity Convention.

Land productivity is declining at an alarming rate. More than a third of land is degraded, with most of it happening just in the last two decades.Current management practices in the land use sector are responsible for approximately 25 per cent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Biodiversity is disappearing at alarming rates well above the natural rates. With over 1.3 billion people reliant on degrading land and exposed to an unprecedented level of climate stress, the situation is expected to worsen.

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The proposed Facility will have two key functions: first, to deliver on existing commitments by promoting large-scale transformative projects to fill existing gaps between projects and funding; second, to act as a catalyst for more coordinated action. The Facility will simultaneously contribute to the implementation of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets (CBD), the Land Degradation Neutrality targets (UNCCD), and the Nationally Determined Contributions and National Adaptation Plans (UNFCCC).

The details for the structure and operation for this facility are being explored in close consultation between the secretariats of the Rio Conventions and potential partners.

The international community and donors have pledged a number of funding commitments such as the enhanced climate financing to address some of the interconnected issues. The Conferences of the Parties to each of the Rio Conventions – namely the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – have underlined through numerous decisions the need for enhanced collaboration in order to harness synergies, enhance coordination and increase the effectiveness of operations. However, the existing technical assistance facilities are sector-specific and do not leverage the synergies between land, climate and biodiversity.

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It is against this backdrop, that the Executive Secretaries of the Rio Conventions issued the joint statement to collaborate in the establishment of a Project Preparation Facility.

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