The [Convention on Biologicla Diversity] (CBD), in particular Articles 20, 21 and 39, refer to financial resources. Article 20 of the CBD states: "Each Contracting Party undertakes to provide, in accordance with its capabilities, financial support and incentives in respect of those national activities which are intended to achieve the objectives of the Convention, in accordance with national plans, priorities and programmes". The interim financial mechanism for the CBD is the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In Europe it is a source of investment and mobilization of funds to support nature conservation in CEE and the Newly Independent States (NIS). A special focus lies with supporting national biodiversity and action plans.
The Environment for Europe Ministerial Process: The [Ã…rhus Convention on Biodiversity Resolution] (SRA-CO (98) 7, rev. 2) prioritizes resources for biological and landscape conservation in Europe: "Conscious of the need for adequate financial, managerial and other resources for the implementation and integration of biological and landscape diversity programmes and interest in other sectoral policies, recommend governments to adjust policies to developed economic and financial incentives to support intersectoral implementation for the conservation of biological and landscape diversity, urge the donor community at bilateral and multilateral level, as well as the private sector, to increase their contribution, and request the Governing body of the Pan-European Strategy to promote the exploration of innovative financing mechanism for this purpose and invite the Project Preparation Committee (PPC) to promote investment projects on biological and landscape diversity in Central and Eastern Europe, in particular those of inter-sectoral character"; and: Recommend the increase of the conservation and sustainable management of biological diversity components within the European Union PHARE programmes and that the scope of the European Union TACIS Eastern European regulation broadened to take duly into account biological and landscape diversity objectives".
The [Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy] has been successful in mobilizing and focusing some resources and staff time from international governments and agencies, a number of national governments, bilateral assistance programmes and contributions of the NGO and research communities towards the implementation of the Strategy in Europe, most notably in CEE. The Pan-European Strategy objective 6 highlights assurance of adequate financial means to implement the Strategy, in accordance with article 20.1. Western-European countries, along with UNEP and the Council of Europe, have taken on the responsibility to assist in providing new and additional financial resources, in particular to enable participating CEE countries to implement the Strategy.
In Netherlands alone, 4-6 million Euro is provided annually for resourcing European biodiversity actions, and over 767 million Euro has been contributed from Germany between 1992-98 for bilateral projects which support the CBD. The GEF fund only a few of the European Parties, mainly in Eastern Europe, whilst support for nature conservation in the European Union via the LIFE regulation represent only 0.05% of the total EU budget.
The 4th Ministers Conference "Environment for Europe", held in Ã…rhus in 1998 clearly identified the need to resource biodiversity and landscape actions, and the [Ã…rhus Declaration] called on all participating States, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector to increase their support, as appropriate, for the implementation of the CBD, inter alia through PEBLDS, by exploring new and innovative financing means ([Ã…rhus Declaration], No 39).
The Report of the Global Environment Facility to the Conference of the Parties (COP5) (UNEP/CBD/COP/5/7) concludes in its synthesis for 1998-99 that GEF assisted 324 projects in 119 countries, with total project costs of 2.28 billion EUROs (US$2.2 billion).
European biodiversity funding is too limited. Wider possibilities for resourcing European biodiversity conservation should be explored, especially by linking up with policies and frameworks for financial and economic sectors, by highlighting the economic, investment and employment benefits of biodiversity conservation, and by finding synergy between relevant global policies, in particular CBD and GEF, the Environment for Europe process and EU policies and financial mechanisms.