Nature conservation and biodiversity Creating, safeguarding and extending protected areas
There are currently around 250,000 protected areas worldwide, covering a total of nearly 50 million square kilometres – an area that has quadrupled since 1990. Worldwide, 16.2 per cent of the Earth’s land area and 7.7 per cent of its coasts and oceans are protected. Protected areas hold some 20 per cent of terrestrial carbon and supply one out of three of the world’s 100 largest cities with drinking water.
However, many areas that play a key part in the conservation of global species diversity do not yet have protected status. Almost 40 per cent of all Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) currently have no formal protection.
Protected areas are coming under increasing pressure as a result of population growth, the rising demand for resources and agricultural land, and climate change. In addition, many countries have neither the human nor the financial resources to ensure the effective protection and sustainable management of such areas. This means that in many cases protection exists only on paper. There is a great need for financial and technical support.
The challenges include the lack of ecological corridors to link protected areas, the limited acceptance of protected areas by local communities and poaching by heavily armed groups of organised criminals.
New Global Biodiversity Framework
A new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is due to be agreed at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which is expected to be held in China at the end of 2021. Germany is urging the formulation of ambitious targets for the extent and quality of protected areas. As a member of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (External link), Germany supports the aim of placing 30 per cent of the Earth’s land area and oceans under protection by 2030.
Through the Green Value initiative the BMZ aims to highlight the socio-economic value of protected areas in Africa for prosperity and development. The approach involves determining the status of ecosystems in protected areas and the interactions with various population groups and sectors of the economy. Working with various partners, the natural capital of six African countries is being analysed. The initiative helps to make decision-makers and the general public aware of the need to preserve protected areas as the “backbone of natural capital” in Africa and to increase investment in their conservation.
New financing schemes
The BMZ is involved in designing innovative financing schemes and it supports the implementation and further development of these schemes. For example, the Legacy Landscapes Fund, established in December 2020, provides long-term financial security for protected areas of outstanding importance for global biodiversity in developing and emerging countries. The fund receives resources from public and private sources (foundations).
The BMZ has already contributed 80 million euros to the foundation capital of the Blue Action Fund (External link), which was founded by Germany in 2016. Other contributors to the Fund are Sweden, France and the European Union. The Blue Action Fund is now one of the largest marine conservation funds in the world.