2020 was set to be a “super year” for nature and the planet. Then COVID-19 hit. The COP15 on Biodiversity, hosted by China, is postponed to 2021, as is the Climate COP26 hosted by the UK. Interestingly, the pandemic is also a stark boost to this agenda: it reminds us that we face permanent disaster if we do not act immediately to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems.
On 20th May, the EU has published its Biodiversity Strategy 2030 – an important piece of the Green Deal – and promises to lead efforts at the global level.
The EU’s Green Deal Investment Plan is the most ambitious roadmap so far for integrating environmental objectives into private and public financial decision-making – including as part of the renewed Sustainable Finance Strategy and improved EU Semester dialogue between the Commission and Member States. The Plan has been criticized for a lack of fresh budgetary capacity. The Recovery Plan, if it puts nature at its heart, would solve that issue.
Finance Watch, The Club of Rome, policymakers and expert speakers gathered for an online conference, following the publication by Finance Watch of its new report, Nature’s Return, to discuss some of the challenges of financing the restoration and protection of nature:
- Can the EU embed nature concerns in governance at a high level, similar to its existing policies on Energy Union and Climate Action?
- What are the limits and the potential for private finance in protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services?
- How should the Recovery Plan be implemented to prioritize investments which restore and protect biodiversity and ecosystems, reducing the risk of future pandemics?
- How can the EU semester effectively integrate biodiversity into economic and financial governance, as proposed by the Commission?
- What are the partnership options to reach our common goal – making finance serve nature – in the coming years?
Welcome and introduction
Welcome – Benoît Lallemand, Secretary General, Finance Watch
Introduction – Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President, The Club of Rome: Biodiversity, COVID-19 and the planetary emergency
Keynote: How to embed nature at the heart of the Recovery plan and in longer-term fiscal governance?
Markus Schulte, Principal Adviser, DG ECFIN, European Commission
Panel 1: Is biodiversity & ecosystems governance at the level needed to be integrated into financial governance?
Ronan Uhel, Head of Natural Capital and Ecosystems, European Environment Agency
Luc Bas, Director European Regional Office, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
Didier Babin, Team Leader “Post2020 Biodiversity Framework – EU Support”
Panel 2: How to embed nature at the heart of the Recovery Plan?
Simon Zadek, Chair, Finance for Biodiversity
Sven Giegold, Member of the European Parliament, Greens/EFA
Josh Ryan-Collins, Head of Finance and Macroeconomics, UCL’s Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)
Panel 3: How can the private sector / EU’s Sustainable Finance Strategy step up its game on nature?
Martin Spolc, Head of Unit, Sustainable finance, DG FISMA, European Commission
Leslie Kapin-Royere, Impact and Finance Principal, Astanor Ventures
Thierry Philipponnat, Head of Research and Advocacy, Finance Watch
Watch the webinar report launch: