Gland, Switzerland - IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and The Biodiversity Consultancy (TBC) launched the first-ever global biodiversity offset policy database at the Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF) last month in Geneva.
A preliminary analysis of the publicly available data gathered from more than 198 countries shows that government policies on biodiversity offsets have doubled in the last 15 years. More specifically, the analysis indicates that most mining-dependent and biodiversity-rich countries studied tend to have advanced offset policies.
“The preliminary findings suggest that countries with high biodiversity and mining activity are mainstreaming biodiversity into their development policies,” said Stephen Edwards, a senior project officer for IUCN’s Business and Biodiversity Programme. “This is a positive indicator of good governance, but more research is needed to see how these policies are being applied.”
The Global Inventory on Biodiversity Offset Policies (GIBOP) is the first online, public inventory, which aims to assist developers, as well as lenders and policy makers. It was co-created with TBC, which has more than 10 years of experience advising governments, NGOs, lenders and academics on environmental performance and sustainability issues.
“Globally, biodiversity is under threat, and this creates a risk for business and government,” said Leon Bennun, Technical Director for TBC. “This risk will continue to rise as countries strive to reconcile the need for biodiversity conservation with sustainable economic development.”
The database and preliminary findings were unveiled during a session focused on governance in the mining sector at the IGF meeting held from 16-20 October. The presentation generated interest and questions from the audience, which presenters said would further enhance the inventory.
“The data illustrates that governments are increasingly referring to biodiversity offsets in their environmental policies and aligning with international best practices. However, it also highlights the policy gaps and where further engagement on resource management is needed,” said Greg Radford, Director of IGF, which funded the preliminary analysis.
Biodiversity offsets are a mechanism that allows developers to compensate for any impacts on nature – including species and habitats - associated with their projects. In 2016, the IUCN World Conservation Congress adopted the first-ever global policy on biodiversity offsets.
To access the online database, visit: https://portals.iucn.org/offsetpolicy/
Note: An overview of the offset policy development stages worldwide can be seen in the above IUCN-TBC map.
IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature, helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice.
IUCN is the world’s oldest and largest global environmental organization, with more than 1,300 government and NGO members and almost 15,000 volunteer experts in some 160 countries. IUCN’s work is supported by over 1,000 staff in 45 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland.
The Biodiversity Consultancy focuses its biodiversity and ecosystem services expertise on practical solutions for managing biodiversity risk and opportunity. Our state-of-the-art knowledge and experience enables our clients to meet emerging challenges in sensitive environments. We work together with industry-leading clients, lenders, government, NGOs and academics to establish leading environmental performance and a sustainable basis for development.
The Global Inventory on Biodiversity Offset Policies is TBC’s latest published work, developed as part of our Science and Policy programme.
The IGF is an inter-governmental forum that supports more than 60 nations committed to leveraging mining for sustainable development to ensure that negative impacts are limited and financial benefits are shared. It is devoted to optimizing the benefits of mining to achieve poverty reduction, inclusive growth, social development and environmental stewardship.