DFFE launches biodiversity sector investment portal

23 September 2022 

 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has launched the biodiversity sector investment portal to link investors with bankable projects as a means of growing the biodiversity economy.

Development of the investment portal by the department has been supported the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN). It promotes investment opportunities in the biodiversity sector and encourages the development of connections between communities and investor ready and bankable intermediaries that will ensure the sector is able to contribute to the growth of the economy, and the well-being of society while conserving our country’s rich biodiversity.

Speaking at the launch, the Director-General of the DFFE, Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, pointed out that South Africa’s biodiversity was not only a national asset, but is also a source of economic prosperity through the sustainable use of a wide variety of plants, and our wildlife. Thus, the need to ensure that the sustainable use of nature does not destroy the environment.

“By encouraging investment into businesses that fall within the broader Biodiversity Economy we can promote much-needed economic and social development, and secure our country’s critical natural capital,” said Ms Tshabalala. “Transformation of the biodiversity sector is key to creating an inclusive approach in which all levels of society and all key stakeholders can assist in addressing the triple challenges of inequality, poverty and joblessness. This can be achieved through greater investment in a largely under-developed sector.”

"Biodiversity conservation targets cannot be achieved by public finance alone. Mobilisation of private finance via regulatory frameworks, smart incentives and awareness of inclusive and sustainable business models are essential. United Nations Development Programme remains committed to working with the Government of South Africa as a technical partner to meet the country’s development goals." said Mr Gabriel Dava, UNDP Resident Representative.

Partnerships are key to unlocking the full potential of the biodiversity sector. By doing this, the department is able to support training and capacity building programmes alongside the development of infrastructure, the donation of wildlife to emerging game farmers, ensuring that indigenous knowledge holders to benefit from the use of natural products, and securing a means to attract investment to the sector.

The UNDP’s BIOFIN project was initiated in South Africa in 2015. Through the partnership, the department has undertaken a policy and institutional review (PIR), financial needs assessment (FNA), biodiversity expenditure review (BER) and biodiversity financial plan (BFP). Within the biodiversity finance plan, 16 financial solutions were identified that could be developed or refined to increase financial flows earmarked for biodiversity protection.

At present seven of the eight financial solutions to catalyse investment in the biodiversity sector and retain revenue in protected areas are being supported by the BIOFIN programme in South Africa.

These solutions were initiated in the 2021/22 financial year and include activating institutional governance and support mechanisms, such as the Finance Solution Project Management Committee and task teams for each finance solution.

The biodiversity investment portal, as one of the BIOFIN Financial Solutions, supports the implementation of the Biodiversity Economy Phakisa programme.

The web portal showcases bankable opportunities in the biodiversity economy sector with the primary aim of creating a funnel of good investable opportunities backed by solid business cases for potential investors. It is also a repository of useful biodiversity sector information largely related to the biodiversity economy and other departmental, SMME and private sector-related work programmes.

Provincial conservation and management authorities, intergovernmental structures and the private sector are already able to submit programmes for evaluation and listing on the portal.

“The biodiversity investment portal also supports the transformation of this important sector by offering a platform where the voices of rural communities can be heard, and where the work they do takes centre stage.  This is important especially because the majority of SMMEs in the biodiversity sector are located in rural areas where economic opportunities are limited. This portal will serve as a means to create socio-economic development in some of the most remote and often overlooked areas of the country,” said Ms Tshabalala.

The DFFE is working to take over the institutional and programmatic ownership of the investment portal that we have developed in partnership with the UNDP, and we are currently integrating the longer term needs of the portal into our information technology (IT) strategy. We intend to build on this first implementation of the portal and to learn what is needed in order to make the portal more efficient, fit-for-purpose and more reflective of the demands of the sector.

To access the investment opportunities, visit the » biodiversity investment portal

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