Press release

Leaders gather at London event in support of UN Nature COP15 agreement

UK government hosts a major multinational event to increase private finance to protect and restore nature

A golden crown lemur sits in a tree in a forest.

Forests host much of the world’s biodiversity

The UK will bring together foreign governments, philanthropy and business leaders to drive forward action to protect and restore nature at an event taking place today (17 February 2023) at Lancaster House, London.

The event will help drive delivery of the deal agreed by almost 200 countries at the UN Nature summit in Montreal in December (COP15), which included a framework requiring countries to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and to protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by the same date.

The framework requires a major push to increase the amount of money invested in tackling nature loss and restoring threatened habitats such as mangroves, rainforests and grasslands. The agreement set out a target to mobilise $200 billion per year globally by 2030, including $20 billion in flows to developing countries by 2025, rising to $30 billion by 2030.

The UK played a critical role in bringing countries together in Montreal and is continuing to lead the way by hosting the event, with the aim of driving forward global financing to support the implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The event will bring together environment ministers such as Minister for Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu from France and Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Monica Medina from the United States and other high ambition countries such as Ecuador, Gabon and the Maldives; business leaders and financiers from the likes of HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group alongside indigenous leaders.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

Protecting our planet’s precious habitats is a global endeavour, and I’m proud that the UK is leading the way in driving action to halt and reverse the decline of nature around the world.

We must keep up the momentum on the progress made so far, and it is by working together across the international community that we will identify and deliver the solutions needed to safeguard our environment for our children, grandchildren and generations beyond.

The Environment Secretary, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP said:

We are proud to have been part of the successful efforts to adopt an ambitious Global Biodiversity Framework in Montreal last year and its effective implementation will be crucial for the future of our planet and for every generation to come.

I’m pleased to be bringing together Ministers from around the world, business leaders, financiers and indigenous leaders to identify the solutions – both financial and structural – that will enable global action to protect nature and reverse biodiversity loss.

U.S. Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources and Assistant Secretary for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina said:

Preserving and restoring the world’s forests are among the best options to accelerate action on the climate and biodiversity crises. To be successful, we need to bring together policy commitments and coordinated support from a range of partners - public, private, and philanthropic.

French Minister for Ecological Transition Christophe Béchu said:

The Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in Montreal in December is ambitious, we now need to gather the financial means to fill the huge funding gap for biodiversity conservation and nature restoration to meet the 2030 targets of the Kunming-Montreal agreement. Public funding will not be sufficient and private funding needs to be mobilised on a large scale, including through innovative market mechanisms, with a territorial focus that benefits and involves local communities.

Global Environment Facility CEO and Chairperson Carlos Manuel Rodríguez said:

The world has come together in difficult times to embrace ambitious goals for the protection and restoration of nature by 2030. Our challenge now is to turn the Global Biodiversity Framework into needed action, with meaningful and lasting results for future generations. Financing from all sources will be critical for this, along with policy support and an inclusive approach. The Global Environment Facility stands ready to help turn commitments into results.

The event called ‘Nature Action: Private Sector Mobilisation’ will include four roundtable discussions focused on:

  • Nature Finance Packages – new and scaled up approaches to attract private finance at country level, focusing on how a package of public and private finance can support countries to meet their commitments to protect and restore forests. Forests play a critical role in regulating the climate, host much of the world’s biodiversity and are a source of food, water and livelihoods for billions of people.
  • Payment for Ecosystem Services – scaling up practical examples of mobilising private sector capital streams to invest in ‘public goods’ such as providing clean water, restoring habitats for wildlife and reducing flood risks to create new markets and support nature restoration and protection.
  • Use of genetic information from plants and animals - exploring opportunities for both people and the environment to benefit from the use of digital mapping of DNA or RNA genomes, for example in product development in areas ranging from cosmetics to vaccines
  • Sustainable Food Systems – scaling up investment in nature-positive sustainable agriculture programmes like the UK’s Environmental Land Management schemes.

The event will hear details of how financed projects can provide benefits for both people and nature. For example on the Philippines island of Mindanao, the agribusiness Kennemer has received $14 million (over £11 million) of investment from the UK and other countries through the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, managed by fund manager Mirova, to work with up to 25,000 small holders over 26,0000 hectares to develop agroforestry techniques – growing crops like cacao banana, and abaca. By growing the crops under the shade of trees this not only improves crop yield and resilience, but also has beneficial impacts on the soil quality and habitats for birds and other wildlife.

Following the event, His Majesty The King will host a reception at Buckingham Palace in support of Global Biodiversity.

The Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan which was published last month set outs out the range of actions the UK will take domestically to meet its commitment to protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030 and halt and then reverse the decline in nature.

Further information:

  • The UK is committed to tackling the twin challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss and placed nature at the heart of its COP26 Presidency, redirecting its own financial resources, and working with others through innovative partnerships such as the Leaders Pledge for Nature, High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, Global Ocean Alliance and the 10 Point Plan for Financing Biodiversity.
  • The 10 Point Plan was launched by the UK, Gabon, Ecuador and Maldives and created a coalition of 42 countries from global north and south around a vision for mobilising resources from all sources to close the finance gap. In response the Joint Donor Statement confirmed the intention at the UN nature summit COP15 to continue increasing finance and emphasise the role of aid for catalysing domestic and private investment in biodiversity.
  • Together these initiatives enabled countries to align and agree on a comprehensive set of credible and stretching targets on finance in the Global Biodiversity Framework.
Published 17 February 2023