Positive finance signals from the EU ahead of UN Biodiversity Conference CBD-COP15 – now other major donor countries need to follow suit

Commitment from President von der Leyen sends powerful message to all signatories of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) ahead of Montreal

Street view of Brussels, Belgium
Brussels street scene Located in Belgium, Brussels is considered the capital of the European Union. © Daniel Kalbasi/Unsplash

Last week,on the fringes of the UN General Assembly in New York City, a raft of announcements were made regarding increasing finance support for nature conservation. Among the most high-profile of these was the pledge made by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, committing €7 billion to protect and restore biodiversity globally.

The current, acceleration nature of biodiversity collapse means that a failure to strengthen the Global Biodiversity Framework at UN Biodiversity Conference CBD-COP15 this December will compromise our ability to avoid food insecurity and economic instability; mitigate against natural disasters caused by human ecosystem disruption; achieve net zero by 2050; limit warming to +1.5C as part of the Paris Climate Agreement; and insulate ourselves against the risk of future pandemics.

Commenting on this announcement, Noor Yafai - Europe Director for Global Policy and Institutional Partnerships at The Nature Conservancy (TNC) - said: “This commitment from President von der Leyen sent a powerful signal to all signatories of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that the EU is ready to mobilise resources for biodiversity, and invites a wider coalition of donor countries to unite behind this effort.”

“Ensuring a successful outcome from CBD-COP15 - a robust, ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework, focused on conservation but integrating this into the wider development agenda, to benefit both humans and nature – is critical. TNC is therefore calling upon the EU and all donor countries, as well as developing nations and those in economic transition, to draft and implement National Biodiversity Strategies and action-plans that integrate nature into sectoral regulation.”

Last week in New York City, a group of four countries comprising Ecuador, Gabon, the Maldives and the United Kingdom launched a joint 10-point plan to bridge the biodiversity finance gap, currently estimated to be around US$700 billion annually. This plan sets out the financial commitments and policy reforms needed to finance biodiversity on the required scale, encouraging both wealthy and lower-income nations to allocate new funds for biodiversity and quickly deliver against their existing financial pledges. It also requires donor countries to ensure that funds earmarked for overseas development do no harm to biodiversity. And it asks countries to dedicate a portion of their national funding for climate change to activities that protect and conserve nature. 15 countries, including Canada, Germany and Norway, as well as the EU, have so far endorsed the plan.

The UK Treasury’s Dasgupta Review (2021) into the economics of biodiversity demonstrated how our economies are embedded in nature, not external to it. By one estimate, US$44 trillion of economic value generation – over half of global GDP – is either moderately or highly dependent on nature. However, the global stock of natural capital, and the biodiversity that underpins it, is declining. Analysis by the Paulson Institute, TNC, and the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability suggests that to arrest and reverse this decline in biodiversity by 2030, we need to spend between US$ 722-967 billion globally each year over the next 10 years.

The Dasgupta Review concluded that reversing biodiversity loss will also require us to mainstream nature into all our economic and financial decision-making. President von der Leyen’s commitment represents a powerful step in the right direction – but much more is needed as, for all its financial muscle, the EU cannot achieve the required turnaround in global biodiversity alone.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. The Nature Conservancy is working to make a lasting difference around the world in 77 countries and territories (41 by direct conservation impact and 36 through partners) through a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on X.