- The illegal wildlife trade is actually the fourth largest global crime estimated at between $7 and $23 billion a year.
- Creating long-term financing solutions for species conservation and engaging people through livelihood development is critical to increasing conservation efforts.
- Known as the Rhino Association, the Wildlife Conservation Association (WCB) is a five-year, $150 million sustainable development bond that will contribute to protecting and increasing black rhino populations in two protected areas in South Africa.
- What is special is that the Rhino Bond is a financial instrument that directs investments to achieve specific conservation outcomes – measured in this case by the increase in black rhino populations.
When asked about illegal activity around the world, the areas most people would think of would include drugs, human trafficking, and weapons. What may not immediately come to mind is the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products – but this is actually the fourth largest global crime estimated at $7-23 billion annually, often run by sophisticated, international and well-organized criminal networks.
The cost of conservation efforts is increasing
Most wildlife trade is legal and by no means always a problem, but when combined with illegal activities on an industrial scale and the general decline of species on Earth, with the world’s animal populations declining by nearly 70% in 50 years, we face the prospect of living in a world Free from some of the most popular types.
Black rhino populations, in particular, are under tremendous pressure, with numbers in the wild dropping from 70,000 in 1970 to only about 27,000 today, and reports indicate that 96% of black rhinos were hunted between 1972 and 1996. Horn, which has reached unprecedented levels, has led to soaring prices and levels of poaching, with horn values reported to have reached US$60,000 per kilogram. The resulting illegal trade is pushing rhinos toward a point of no return, where deaths will begin to outnumber births.
As a result of these pressures, the costs of conservation efforts to protect populations of black rhinos are increasing. Many protected areas are facing funding gaps, as traditional sources of funding have become insufficient to keep pace with such a complex and large-scale criminal operation. Conservation managers struggle to raise the funds needed for the day-to-day management and protection of the rhinos, not to mention what might be required to sustain their efforts in the long term.
Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the broader challenge of preserving biodiversity. According to the “Nature of Funding: Bridging the Global Biodiversity Financing Gap” 2020 report by the Paulson Institute and others, there is an estimated annual funding gap for biodiversity and ecosystem conservation to range from $598 billion to $824 billion annually over the next decade.
Biodiversity loss and climate change are occurring at unprecedented rates, threatening the very survival of humanity. Nature is in crisis, but there is hope. Investing in nature can not only increase our resilience to social, economic and environmental shocks, but it can help societies thrive.
There is strong recognition within the forum that the future should be net zero and be nature positive. The Nature Agenda Initiative, within the Nature-Based Solutions Acceleration Platform, is an inclusive, multi-stakeholder movement catalysing economic action to halt biodiversity loss by 2030.
Dynamic and thriving natural ecosystems are the foundation of human well-being and prosperity. The Future of Nature and Business report found that nature’s positive shifts in key sectors are beneficial to the economy and could generate up to $10.1 trillion in annual business value and create 395 million jobs by 2030.
To support these transformations, the Nature-Based Solutions Accelerator Platform has invited a community of nature champions to advance the sustainable management of the planet for the benefit of the economy and society. Nature’s Action Agenda also recently launched the 100 Million Farmers Initiative, which will lead the food and agriculture system’s transition toward a renewable model, as well as the BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative to create an urban development model compatible with nature.
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Conversion of custody financing form
It is a complex problem that combines high demand and organized crime at the global level, with poverty, corruption, inadequate enforcement and political instability at the local level. Creating long-term financing solutions for species preservation and engaging people through livelihood development will depend on changing the way conservation is financed.
Starting to address this issue requires an approach that can be targeted and scaled up; Combines investment opportunities with measurable improvements. And one such solution now exists – “Rhino Bond,” which looks to directly link rhino conservation results to investor payouts and investment success.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) recently priced the Wildlife Conservation Bond (WCB) to support South Africa’s efforts to conserve endangered species by partnering with Credit Suisse as the bond’s sole regulator.
Rhino populations are concentrated in Africa, and are most concentrated in Southern Africa which has an estimated 79% of Africa’s rhino population. They are an umbrella species that play an important role in forming entire ecosystems that countless other animals depend on.
Also known as the “Rhino Bond,” WCB is a five-year, $150 million sustainable development bond that will contribute to the protection and growth of black rhino populations in two protected areas in South Africa: Addo Elephant National Park and Great Fish River Nature Reserve. The proceeds from the bond will support financing of the World Bank’s sustainable development projects and programs globally, a number of which focus on biodiversity. Instead of paying investors, the coupon payments on WCB, which are $10 million, will be paid to the two protected areas to fund the conservation of the rhino.
It is hoped that the bond will:
- Securing and growing the numbers of endangered rhinos
- Protecting biodiversity and supporting improvements in planetary health
- Changing conservation financing strategies and increasing investment opportunities in conservation activities.
Measuring success by the black rhino population
What is special is that the Rhino Bond is a financial instrument that directs investments to achieve specific conservation outcomes – measured in this case by the increase in black rhino populations. They include potential performance payments from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) based on any growth rate in the rhino population. Crucially, the model is grounded in metrics and evidence, encouraging stakeholders to analyze and understand conservation issues, identify progress and focus on outcomes, thus shifting the focus from short-term outputs to long-term impacts.
Through the WCB, the private sector can be invested directly towards financing activities for the protection and development of critically endangered species, with the additional potential benefits of directly contributing to biodiversity, creating jobs for local communities by creating conservation-related jobs in a rural underserved area. Services in South Africa. This also promotes a shift in mindset for communities that have rich natural capital resources at their doorstep, which is critical to the long-term success of currently threatened species.
The WCB model provides a new blueprint for the way conservation is financed and has the potential to be a key enabler for the implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework. Interestingly, there is scope for iteration and extension of the model to address other conservation actions, climate and development goals across The world, for example elephants, and even the designated protected areas themselves.