Keeping up promises has been a major point of discussion at the ongoing Conference of Parties-11 (COP-11) on biodiversity. In a forum where resource mobilization and finances have taken centrestage for implementation of the Aichi Targets, India is likely to garner a higher share of funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the sixth phase of the facility, which will come into effect from 2014 till 2018.
“The funding for India should be more than $300 million which has been allocated to it in the GEF-5, considering the country’s top position in terms of System of Transparent Allocation of Resources (STAR) among other indices,” program manager at GEF Yoko Watanabe said. GEF is an independently operating financial organisation which provides grants for projects related to biodiversity and climate change among other environmental issues. In India, the organization provided an additional funding of $5 million under the Small Grants Programme (SGP) targeted at collectives and non-governmental organization.
Though India has been a beneficiary of $322.6 million of GEF grants since 1991, the representatives of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) demanded an increase in allocation towards conservation of biodiversity. “Of the annual budget of MoEF between 2010-11, Rs 10,780 million of the total Rs 22,000 million was spent in direct conservation measures. The annual expenditure of the country for biodiversity, which roughly translates to $2 billion, exceeds the international funds received.
Increase in Official Development Assistance (ODA) is likely to grow despite the slow economy. “Allocation to biodiversity conservation needs to go up by at least 10 to 12 per cent to enable achievement of Aichi Targets,” joint secretary at MoEF Hem Pande said during a side event at the ongoing CoP-11. Highlighting the need for better investments for GEF officials, he added that there was a need to focus on biodiversity rather than climate change so as to prevent the division of funds and concentrated attempts at conservation.