Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

Conservation and Sustainable Use of the Biosphere - WBGU

356 I Global biosphere policy

protection of natural resources and the environment

and the conservation of genetic diversity, which took

place in 1995, was a milestone in that context. Moreover,

there are a number of projects on biosphere

conservation under bilateral cooperation.

Beyond that Germany provides experts to work

throughout the world in the framework of development

cooperation on the conservation of the biosphere.

Furthermore, there is the Kreditanstalt für

Wiederaufbau (KfW) which provides support to the

investments of Germany’s partner countries, and has

dedicated 30 per cent of its total commitments to

backing developing countries in the area of environmental

and resource conservation (1998: US$400

million). Germany is also active in the conservation

of the biosphere in the multilateral context. Between

1994 and 1997 Germany’s contribution to the GEF

was around US$200 million, which accounts for 12

per cent of the total budget. After Japan and the

United States, Germany is the third largest contributor.

Overall the Council endorses the concepts developed

by the BMZ in the area of development policy

conservation work and recommends that this route

be pursued further. The sectoral concept ‘Preserving

biodiversity through conservation’ is particularly

important since it defines nature conservation work

as a cross-sectoral task. Initial efforts to increase the

spatial scope of nature conservation are already

under way.


Financing instruments

Despite the commitment that can be seen in the area

of the conservation and sustainable use of the biosphere,

it must be noted that if the current demographic

trends in the developing countries persist for

the foreseeable future the last remaining semi-natural

areas will also be in danger. Particularly in Latin

America, Africa and Asia, the concept of sustainable

use of natural resources will encounter limitations.A

strategy for the sustainable use of these resources

will only be in a position to satisfy the growing usage

interests if it can be upgraded as required, in other

words if it can produce more for the people. Therefore,

protected areas too will have to become more

economically viable, in order to convince decisionmakers

on the ground that they should be preserved

(Krug, 1997).This will be impossible without external

help. Furthermore, the loss of biological diversity is

advancing at such a great pace that in many instances

the focus will have to be on selecting the most important

areas to be saved.

Global Environment Facility – GEF

Internationally, the GEF is already an important

financing instrument for the conservation and sustainable

use of biodiversity, but in recent times the

complaints about how difficult it is to prove incremental

costs have been multiplying. Many biodiversity

conservation projects have a local focus and have

difficulty proving their global relevance. This problem

does not exist in the context of climate protection.

The GEF which was established in 1991 in

response to a Franco-German initiative only covers

incremental costs that developing countries incur for

global environmental protection and not the costs for

those measures that a given country would have initiated

anyway under its national policies.The funding

of projects through the GEF is always a supplement

to the efforts of a country or bilateral and multilateral

development cooperation.Around 40 per cent of

GEF funds go to projects that serve the conservation

and sustainable use of biological diversity. 4.1 per

cent of these funds serve to preserve biodiversity in

arid and semi-arid areas, 6.5 per cent in coastal zones,

15.5 per cent in forest ecosystems, 2.4 per cent in

mountain ecosystems, 2.2 per cent in other support

activities and 8 per cent of GEF funds for biodiversity

conservation are deployed for short-term measures.

For the period 1998 to 2002 GEF has a total of

US$2.75 thousand million at its disposal.

An additional financing instrument could emerge

from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

agreed under the Kyoto Protocol, although the countries

of Africa fear that they will be hardly considered

at all in that context.Also in the context of international

cooperation support has been given for a

long time now by development cooperation institutions

and private donors to national conservation

funds to safeguard investments in the area of nature

conservation. However, this instrument has to be

used carefully since there is the danger that all that

happens is that national budgets are relieved of a

burden they would otherwise shoulder. For this reason

German development cooperation has been hesitant

to use that particular instrument.

Debt-for-nature swaps

The Council sees debt-for-nature swaps as a promising

instrument under development cooperation. By

swapping debts for conservation measures the intention

is for developing countries to be in a position to

reduce their debt burden and at the same time make

investments in resource conservation. This instrument

constitutes a meaningful financing option for

nature conservation projects if the conditions are

accepted and controls allowed. Worldwide between

1987 and 1994 around US$178 million was waived

under debt swap facilities and made available for

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