Friday, May 15 2015
BIOFUND (Foundation for the Conservation of Biodiversity) is a Mozambican conservation trust fund set up in 2011, based on the principles and standards of conservation trust funds developed by the Conservation Finance Alliance (see publication here).The first phase in establishing the BIOFUND investment fund began with the signature, in December 2014, of financing agreements with KfW (German Cooperation) to the value of 10 million Euros, with the World Bank / GEF to the value of 3.2 million USD and, in February 2015, with CI / GCF, to the value of 1 million USD.
The official BIOFUND launch event will be held on 10, 11 and 12 June 2015. It will take place on the premises of the new Educational Complex of the Eduardo Mondlane University, which has associated itself to this initiative
The programme for 10 June envisages the inauguration of the exhibition “Partnerships
for the Conservation of Biodiversity" at 15h00, followed by the solemn launch
ceremony from 16h00 to 18h30 and the official reception as from 18h30.
The Forum "Conservation as a Pillar of Development" will take place on 11 June, from
09h00 to 17h00, with lunch offered to the participants.
Outside of the official programme, 12 June will be dedicated to children and young
people, with guided visits to the Biodiversity Conservation exhibition, the showing of films, games and other activities intended to encourage the interest of the new generations in nature and in conservation.
Check below Luis Bernardo Honwana's (Biofund's Executive Director) exclusive interview for the CFA website:
1 – In your opinion, what is the main role of BIOFUND in the local context (In Mozambique), regional context (Southeast Africa) and global?
The BIOFUND is a Conservation Trust Fund that operates under conditions specific to Mozambique. Our country is blessed with vast natural resources, but at present, we rank very low relative to the human development index and in GDP per capita. In our recent past, we have been through a number of natural (and also some man made) disasters.
The discovery of huge reserves of coal and natural gas, added to good macroeconomic conditions and relative social and political stability have created good perspectives for economic recovery. In the last 15 years our growth has been steady at around 7%.
Notwithstanding these positive developments, since the government has had to address too many competing priorities, ANAC (National Administration of Conservation Areas) is struggling to maintain our protected areas system, which covers roughly 23% of the national territory.
BIOFUND was created to support biodiversity conservation and the consolidation of the national system of conservation areas. Our immediate goal is help to achieve sustainability in financing of conservation areas.
In addition, we are also busy developing our own programs in support of conservation, such as a data base platform on the conservation areas in Mozambique (www.biofundmoz.com) as well as a first mapping of Mozambican habitats according to IUCN categories.
Regionally and internationally, we hope to cooperate with other CTFs and similar organizations. Nature does not recognize borders. Conservation is, by definition, a global collaborative effort.
2- In which ways the interaction with other partners (international organizations, environmental funds, universities) will contribute to BIOFUND’s activities/projects development?
BIOFUND is the product of a joint initiative of Civil Society in Mozambique, the donor community and our own government. We have German Cooperation (KfW), the World Bank/GEF/IDA, WWF, AFD, GEF, CI-CGF, UNDP/GEF and USAID amongst the contributors to our endowment and supporters of our programs. We are a founding member of CAFE (the African Consortium of Conservation Trust Funds) and, as such, we participate in all activities jointly organized by CAFE and RedLAC (the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Environmental Funds).
Thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, BIOFUND staff has benefited from a mentorship program with Funbio. Also, in terms of training, , we participated with USAID's support in the ISPAM seminar, organized by the US Forrest Service and the College of Forestry & Conservation of the University of Montana.
At present we are working with FFEM, AFD and WCS on a pilot project on biodiversity offsetting to be implemented in four African countries (Guinée, Uganda, Mozambique and Madagascar). We also plan to work with the CARE-WWF Alliance on a common approach to financing for the newly created Primeiras and Segundas reserve.
3- Which types of financial mechanisms are/will be developed and/or approached in order to accomplish BIOFUND’s established mission?
In accordance with standard procedures for CTFs and following an investment policy approved by BIOFUND’s Board of Directors, our Asset Manager is investing part of our endowment in international financial markets. The revenue generated through investment of endowment funds will be used to help cover the recurrent costs (except salaries) in protected areas. The criteria to select the beneficiary protected areas for a given period and the allocation of the funds to be disbursed is being currently discussed between BIOFUND and ANAC.
Apart from that, BIOFUND is considering, together with partner institutions, other schemes of funding for conservation activities - such as biodiversity offsets and carbon credits. We are also involved in fundraising campaigns to respond to specific conservation needs.
For more information, please click here.
Photo Credits: BIOFUND's website