Fiscal policies and climate change

fiscalDuring the European Green Week (EGW), the “Reforming fiscal policies to combat climate change” Conference took place in Brussels. This event examined the role of fiscal policies in implementing the Paris.
The most relevant findings were:
  • Almost 90 countries including some form of carbon pricing or other fiscal policies in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs);
  • Only around 12 per cent of annual global GHG emissions are formally priced;
  • Fiscal policies such as carbon pricing and fossil fuel subsidy reform can provide a cost-effective approach to addressing climate change;
  • Panellists agreed that carbon pricing does not have to mean higher taxes, but rather smarter, more efficient taxes.
You can find a summary of the event here.

EU money for green policies

downloadDuring the European Green Week (EGW), the “Investments that make it happen” Conference took place in Brussels. Innovative ideas and concrete solutions to finance green initiatives were discussed during the third day of the EGW.
2016 is considering the year of Green Finance and many stakeholders are expecting that Europe can be the pioneer of green finance policies.
Circular economy, green bonds, green investments and green finance were discussed, with the interventions of important speakers.
You can find here a complete report of the day.
Ecolinfa is working in some projects in Italy to promote innovative solutions to finance protected areas management and local community, including the Ecosystems Services approach.

The Economic Environmental Evaluation Guidelines in Guinee-Bissau

guineaGuinea-Bissau is a small country in West Africa with a total area of 36,125 square kilometers (km2) and an estimated population of 1,700,000 inhabitants. It is one of the poorest countries in the world (70% of the population live below the national poverty line and 33% live in extreme poverty) and has one of the lowest Human Development Index (HDI) scores.
The Guidelines (or Guide) for the Economic Environmental Evaluation (EEE) takes into account the existing legislation, international best practices, natural capital and its economic value in Africa and Guinee-Bissau, consultation activities with the relevant stakeholders (public administration and international donors), the literature of reference, trying to adapt the best international experiences (e.g. European) to the Guinee-Bissau context.
The main objectives are identifying the references and best practices at the international level, to be applied in the country, through a process of adapting them to the national legal, institutional, and environmental frameworks; providing a methodology for EEE; establishing the technical documents (and their minimum contents) to be presented to economically assess the environmental impacts under the evaluation process of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA); briefly addressing some specific aspects of the Environmental Economic Evaluation; providing suggestions and recommendations for the implementation of the Environmental Economic Evaluation in Guinee-Bissau.
After a brief analysis of the existing legal framework, the Guide attempts to provide operational information on the methodology to prepare the necessary technical documents.
The Guide deals with developing the methodology guide, which includes a normative analysis, the collection of technical documents and relevant literature at the national and international level, consultation activities, to get to this text document.
Methodological aspects are based on the assessment and evaluation of goods and ecosystem services, in the previous phase, during and after the execution of the work (in the case of the EIA) or the actions relating to the Political/Programme/Plan in the case of SEA). The proposed methodology is divided into different stages and different methods are listed to identify the economic value of environmental impacts.

Protected Areas in Guinee-Bissau

flagProtected areas represent one of the pillar of biodiversity conservation. The first national park in Guinee-Bissau was established in 1997. IBAP, the Institute for Biodiversity and Protected Areas, was created in 2004/2005 with the explicit authority and responsibility to protect and manage Guinea-Bissau’s biodiversity endowment through the National System of Protected Areas. By 2011, six protected areas had been legally decreed. During this year, the SNAP should address the 25% of total surface, when additional protected areas will be established.
Giacomo Cozzolino recently visited Guinee-Bissau to provide technical assistance to UNDP and governmental bodies

Sustainable financing of biodiversity conservation in Africa

sustainable-financingConserving biodiversity and establishing and managing protected areas costs money. The Goal 3.4 of CBD is: “To ensure financial sustainability of protected areas and national and regional systems of protected areas”.
A preliminary assessment recently conducted under the auspices of the High-level Panel on Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the CBD Strategic Plan estimated that the global investment required ranges between 130 and 440 billion US$ annually. In Africa, this situation can become dramatic, as national governments often do not have sufficient resources to cover the effective financial needs.
 Then, the well-being and livelihood of people strongly depend on natural resources and it can imply fast and unmanaged exploitation of goods and ecosystems services.
 Africa, as known, strongly depends on international donors, also in the field of nature conservation. The traditional project approach is based on strong donations, mostly managed by international bodies (UN agencies, NGOs, etc.). UNEP (2006) considers these as the major reasons for the failure of the old way to manage conservation projects:
  • They are based on projects and when the project ends, very often the programme or the activities die with it;
  • They are too dependent on “donor” funding and when the “donor” is not interested anymore, the programme ends, and
  • Environment and development continue to be seen as two different issues.

In brief, conservation projects in Africa are generally not self-sustainable, from a financial point of view. Then, financial resources are used and dispersed during the project life cycle, without creating any flywheel to permit, in the long term, to generate revenues.

The most well-known programme at the global level is the Biodiversity Finance Initiative – BIOFIN, a new global partnership seeking to address the biodiversity finance challenge in a comprehensive manner – building a sound business case for increased investment in the management of ecosystems and biodiversity.

BIOFIN is managed by the UNDP and 4 African countries participate in this initiative. Moreover, UNDP promotes additional conservation projects to improve the sustainable financing of protected areas systems.

One example is the PROFIN, “sustainable financing of protected areas system in Mozambique” Project, implemented in one of the poorest countries in Africa.   PROFIN, under the supervision of UNDP Mozambique Country Office, is managed by the National Agency for Protected Areas (ANAC), WWF Mozambique and Carr Foundation, the managing body of Gorongosa National Park.
PROFIN analyzes different aspects, such as the Protected Areas System, the theoretical and operational basis of the financial planning, the current situation, future needs, also providing suggestions and recommendations to improve fundraising, as well as financial management.
The main results of the project show that the total annual budget for the PAs system is insufficient to correctly managed it, more than 80% of which is provided by international donors and just 2 areas (on a total of 18) present optimal levels of consolidation; currently the ANAC is able to close the gap to achieve a basic level for all the PAs, but the current revenue generation and collection systems are not effective or efficient and the current financial management system is not sufficiently adequate to address all the necessary related activities. The next years will be crucial for parks managers in Mozambique, as they should improve their financial management and found-raising system, taking into account some basic suggestions, such as looking for new partnerships to raise funds and manage them; reforming the legal and operational revenue generation framework; restructuring the fees collection system.
Giacomo Cozzolino is the former Project Technical Adviser of PROFIN.
 He presentED the PROFIN results at LIFE MGN’s conference

The new dimension of wildlife trafficking in Africa


Africa is currently facing a dramatic surge in wildlife trafficking: for example, the illicit ivory trade has more than doubled since 2007, and is over three times greater than it was in 1998. Between 2007 and 2013, rhino poaching increased by 7000% in South Africa, endangering the survival of this specie.

EC recently adopted some actions to fight wildlife crime inside and outside the EU, to combat a phenomena that has become one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide, with devastating effects for biodiversity and negative impact on the rule of law due to its close links with corruption and financing of terrorism groups. Under the EU general approach, on 26 February 2016, the European Commission adopted a Communication on the EU Action Plan against Wildlife Trafficking.

The Communication proposed 3 priorities: Preventing wildlife trafficking and addressing its root causes, Implementing and enforcing existing rules and combating organised wildlife crime more effectively, Monitoring and evaluation.

Last week the EU and its Member States tabled an ambitious set of proposals ahead of the next meeting of the CITES Convention, which will take place from 24 September to 5 October 2016 in Johannesburg. At this page, a list of proposals submitted by the EU and its Member States for consideration at CoP 17.