World leaders urged to back innovative nature financing at One Forest Summit in Gabon

Full Text Sharing

Embargoed: 00:01 UTC+1, Wednesday, March 1, 2023

LIBREVILLE, March 1, 2023 - Supporting and scaling up innovative nature finance, including biodiversity-positive carbon credits, and nature certificates or credits, could help close the significant gap in funding for the safeguarding and restoration of biodiversity and benefit Indigenous People and local communities, according to a new report launched by the Global Environment Facility and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

The report, Innovative Finance for Nature and People, was developed by a twenty-person high-level working group (see below) supported by an expert panel. It makes a series of recommendations to the One Forest Summit being jointly hosted by the governments of Gabon and France in Libreville today and tomorrow. The meeting is the latest in a series of One Planet Summits, the brainchild of French President Emmanuel Macron, which bring together heads of states and governments, leaders of international organizations, financial institutions, the private sector, international non-governmental organizations, think tanks and research centers, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and civil society to tackle issues of environmental and climate protection alongside labor market and economic opportunities.

The recommendations to government and policy makers include providing clear laws, policies, and incentives to foster demand for and accountability within the market for these products. They also include eliminating subsidies that are harmful for biodiversity as well as clarifying that biodiversity-positive carbon credits and nature certificates are not offsets and could align with the Paris Agreement on climate and the recently adopted Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

Biodiversity-positive carbon credits and nature certificates need to be piloted as part of national biodiversity and climate strategy and plans before expanding towards a critical mass of trades. Governments need to work with other stakeholders, especially Indigenous Peoples and local communities to introduce effective governance for nature certificates and enhance the existing carbon governance to include biodiversity elements.

“Biodiversity-positive carbon credits and nature certificates have the potential to unlock additional financing from a range of sources, including private sector companies that have made commitments to be nature-positive and support a net zero transition,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of the Global Environment Facility.  “We need to learn from past work on carbon credits to create a single, unified forest credit system that factors in both climate and biodiversity concerns.”

The report has a number of recommendations for the private sector, investors, and others in the marketplace. These include the need to generate and sustain demand from individual buyers and private investors, and to collaborate on methodologies, certification standards and metrics. 

It also says that all those involved need to ensure Indigenous Peoples and local communities as key custodians of nature are contributing to the design of, and benefiting from, these innovative financial products. They should receive an agreed share of any revenues, be supported to develop and lead credit and certificate projects and be key players in market governance by certification and managing exchanges and registries. 

“Innovative finance offers a tangible solution to the problem of funding the conservation and restoration of biodiversity, but we need to do the work early in the market development to ensure they don’t become another means of greenwashing,” said Tom Mitchell, Executive Director of IIED. “If implemented in the right way, they could help to preserve precious plants, animals, and ecosystems, while channeling finance to local communities and Indigenous Peoples who are the most effective custodians of biodiversity.”

The report recommends that all those engaging in the development of biodiversity-positive carbon credits and nature certificates need to come up with, and apply, integrity principles for the voluntary market, including keeping it distinct from biodiversity offset mechanisms, which should remain within the remit of regulators, and linking it to adequate policy and institutional frameworks at a jurisdictional level.

The market will also need to build on existing networks to develop a global partnership and platform to accelerate and scale up programs delivering biodiversity-positive carbon credit and nature certificates that deliver equitable, nature-positive outcomes. The platform will need to help identify priority areas for schemes, help establish appropriate methodologies, as well as good practice and cooperation, and promote financial tracking and accountability through block chain and other technologies.

Download the summary (in English and French) and the full report here

High-Level Working Group

Mr. Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson, Global Environment Facility

Ms. Razan Al Mubarak, President, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Ms. Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme
Mr. David Antonioli, CEO, Verra
Dr. Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director, Climate Policy Initiative
Mr. Craig Cogut, CEO, Pegasus Capital Advisors
Mr. Aniruddha Dasgupta, President and CEO, World Resources Institute
Dr. Partha Dasgupta, Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge
Mr. Makhtar Diop, Managing Director and Executive Vice President, International Finance Corporation
Mr. Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund
Ms. Margaret Kim, CEO, Gold Standard
Ms. Jennifer Morris, CEO, The Nature Conservancy
Ms. Lucy Mulenkei, Executive Director, Indigenous Information Network, Chair, Indigenous Peoples Advisory Group of the GEF
Dr. Carlos Nobre, Chair, Science Panel for the Amazon of the US National Academy of Sciences, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, and World Academy of Sciences
Ms. Mari Pangestu, Managing Director, World Bank
Mr. Qu Dongyu, Director-General, Food and Agriculture Organisation
Mr. Rémy Rioux, CEO, French Development Agency
Dr. Cristián Samper, Managing Director, Bezos Earth Fund
Mr. M Sanjayan, CEO, Conservation International
Mr. Joe Walston, Executive Vice-President of Global Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society
Mr. Philippe Zaouati, CEO, MIROVA

For more information please contact:
In Gabon, Robert Bisset, Head of Communications, Global Environment Facility on +1(202) 415-9646 or

In London, Sarah Grainger, Media Manager, IIED on +44 7503 643332 or

About the Global Environment Facility

The GEF is a multilateral fund dedicated to confronting biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution, and strains on land and ocean health. Its grants, blended financing, and policy support helps developing countries address their biggest environmental priorities and adhere to international environmental conventions. Over the past three decades, the GEF has provided more than $22 billion in grants and blended finance and mobilized $120 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 national and regional projects. To date, the GEF has invested $3.7 billion in forest initiatives.

About the International Institute for Environment and Development

IIED is one of the world’s leading independent policy and action research organisations.  Its mission is to build a fairer, more sustainable world, using evidence, action and influence in partnership with others.

Position: Co -Founder of ENGAGE,a new social venture for the promotion of volunteerism and service and Ideator of Sharing4Good

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.