The Federal Environment Ministry adopts a support package for developing and newly industrialising economies
The Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) has adopted a comprehensive package of measures to provide immediate support to developing and newly industrialising countries in overcoming the coronavirus crisis. For this purpose, it is providing approximately 68 million euros in funds from the International Climate Initiative (IKI) to 29 projects in 25 countries. This supports relief for protected areas and biodiversity hotspots, promotes a climate-friendly economic recovery and increases resilience against future pandemics.
State Secretary at the BMU Jochen Flasbarth remarked: "We are relying on European and international solidarity in our fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It is particularly important that countries are not forced to weigh short-term health investments amidst the current crisis against investments in climate action and biodiversity. Climate action and biodiversity, on the contrary, must play an integral part in the economic recovery around the world. This is what we intend to support with our projects."
The coronavirus pandemic is presenting enormous challenges to international climate action and biodiversity conservation. Deforestation rates are increasing dramatically. Poaching in protected areas is also on the rise because quarantine restrictions and the loss of tourism income seriously hamper effective conservation. At the same time, decisions on how to shape the economic recovery after the pandemic are being taken around the globe. If we fail to anchor climate action in the recovery and focus on old strategies such as subsidising fossil fuels instead, we risk a severe setback to the climate action efforts made over the past years.
The BMU aims to support the economic recovery in its partner countries by topping up funding for projects linked to jobs and by paying for economic advisers to support the finance and planning ministries in drawing up climate- and biodiversity-friendly recovery packages. The BMU also supports projects, for example, that secure jobs in protected areas during the crisis to prevent poaching and deforestation.
It has been shown that the increasing frequency of virus pandemics is closely linked to globally growing biodiversity loss and deforestation. Ramping up conservation efforts in biodiversity hotspots and forests will help decrease the likelihood of zoonoses and therefore the risk of future pandemics.
The package of measures covers 29 projects in 25 countries and is supported by 16 IKI implementing partners. It is regionally balanced, focusses on a broad range of topics and takes the needs of the individual partner countries into account as demonstrated in the examples below.
1. Immediate action for protected areas and biodiversity hotspots to preserve their conservation performance
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, all countries around the globe are facing major medical, social and economic challenges. At the same time, climate change, the loss of biodiversity and environmental degradation are advancing. Deforestation and poaching have even increased during the coronavirus crisis. In some cases, the impacts of the pandemic, e.g. the lockdown and the loss of tourism revenue, have made it impossible to preserve protected areas. Over the past months, poaching of endangered species and deforestation have increased significantly. Indigenous groups are also put at risk. The funding provided by the BMU aims to mitigate the direct impacts on climate action, biodiversity conservation and the protection of indigenous groups caused by or arising during the coronavirus pandemic until the crisis is over. This will help, for example, safeguard jobs in protected areas during the pandemic in order to prevent poaching and deforestation and preserve the habitat of particularly endangered species.
2. Stabilising the economy with climate projects that promote jobs
Financial support for ongoing IKI projects is being increased in a targeted way to facilitate a climate-friendly economic recovery. The projects are characterised by their positive impact on jobs and their potential to create a long-term basis for integrating biodiversity, climate action and economic and social development. Job creation in the short term through reforestation and climate-friendly infrastructure projects is linked to long-term action that supports the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda.
3. Covering expenses for economic advisers to anchor climate action in recovery programmes
The BMU also plans to support its partners in drawing up climate-friendly recovery programmes. Across the globe, governments are taking decisions regarding the post-coronavirus economic recovery. The BMU is covering the costs for economic advisers for partner governments that explicitly request this support. The advisers are to support the finance, economy and planning ministries in including sustainability, climate action and biodiversity conservation in short-term measures that have a significant impact on employment. If we successfully steer recovery measures along environmentally friendly lines and refrain from implementing old subsidising practices, e.g. for coal and oil, our emergence from the coronavirus crisis can contribute to overcoming climate change.
4. Preventing pandemics
Several measures also focus on the prevention of pandemics. The conservation of biodiversity hotspots and forests is intended to reduce the future likelihood of an emergence of similar pandemics by lowering the zoonotic risk. IKI funding is designed to contribute to an increase in investments in protected areas and to the drafting of new financing solutions for biodiversity conservation. This would have a direct impact on saving and creating jobs and pave the way for alternative and sustainable means of generating income.