David Meyers, Executive Director of Conservation Finance Alliance, and Kim Bonine, Training Director at Conservation Strategy Fund, chat about what nature means to them and discuss the major themes of their new 4Nature podcast.
"[Humans] have evolved to live in nature and function in nature and losing that nature has had a profound psychological impact on us as individuals and communities."
- David Meyers
"Part of the problem might not be that we don't care. Part of the problem is somewhat how we count things and measure things and what we include when we're making decisions, and considering trade-offs, and it's about really embracing a new way of thinking about well-being and thinking about our lives and making sure that Nature is included. Imperfectly, but included....it's essential to how we live as people"
- Kim Bonine
David and Kim talk to David Johnson, Senior Lecturer in the Economics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, about the management of public goods in the global economy and how we find a balance between individual needs and group success when it comes to nature and the climate crisis.
"A reason to be hopeful: we came together to stop a global pandemic...what's stopping us from having the same global response to climate change?...it may be a moment to be seized."
- David Johnson
David and Nik Sekhran, Chief Conservation Officer at WWF, speak about what's working in nature finance right now, the importance of including infrastructure into ecosystem services conversations, and the inherent risk mitigation in financing nature.
"Nature-based risks are enormous, we focus predominantly on climate change risks - and they're gargantuan - but nature-based risks are equally so and they can impact economies even faster than climate risks and they can affect all sectors. We need to look at carbon and the carbonization of the world economy but we can't ignore nature in that process or we will be left with a huge bill from nature."
- Nik Sekhran
In a conversation recorded before COP26 in Glasgow 2021, David and Jen Morris of TNC discuss the interconnectedness of nature in public health, economics, and wellbeing, and aligning incentives to bring nature to the forefront of climate change conversations.
“Until we can make that systemic change from it being a environment over here and economic development over here and never the two shall meet when it comes to policies and incentives, we're never going to mainstream nature into the economic frame it needs to be for us to see real change"
- Jen Morris
Kim and Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of African Wildlife Foundation, connect about Africa's position on the world stage of conservation and the need to better represent wildlife in for-profit spaces. Kaddu discusses the opportunities for an expanded role of finance in community and ecosystem sustainability across the continent.
“How do we align biodiversity into these conversations? How do we represent wildlife in boardrooms? That is the question conservationists now find ourselves with. How do you involve a majority of Africans in this sector? How do you get a minority issue to become a majority concern on this convenient?
- Kaddu Sebunya
In this week's episode, David and Kim chat with Stacy Jupiter, WCS Wildlife Conservation Society’s Melanesia Regional Director and MacArthur Fellow on how she works directly with indigenous and local communities to facilitate better land management practices that benefit wildlife, marine ecosystems, and human health outcomes. They chat about her landmark Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) program in Fiji and her landscape-level thinking that links health and nature in ways that could bring more financing to the important work of watershed management around the world.
“They're talking about "ridge to reef" let's talk about integrated watershed management for multiple co-benefits; for public health, for ecosystems, and for all the climate benefits that you get along with it!
- Stacy Jupiter
In this episode, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), connects with 4Nature Co-host David Meyers, on the importance of including agriculture and conservation in conversations together, the power of public and private divesting from industries and activities that are harmful to the environment, his legacy of transformational environmental leadership in Costa Rica, and his mission to promote policy coherence in GEF’s work around the world.
“All development policies from the central government or from the different sectors should be aligned and aimed to the same goals. We need to create the right incentives so all public and private investments are aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement. can turn the economy into a nature-positive economy...Not only conserving what we have but restoring what we've lost.”
- Carlos Manuel Rodriguez
In this episode of 4Nature, Kim speaks with Mariana Bellot, Technical Advisor at The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) providing support to Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Cuba, Chile, Peru and Mexico. Mariana and Kim discuss the importance of joining private and public sectors together under the goal of investing in conservation and restoration efforts, and Mariana shares a few financing strategies gaining traction, such as impact investing, blended finance and thematic bonds (rhino bonds, green bonds etc.) Mariana explains how “conservation without resources is only conversation” and how her work with BIOFIN helps secure those resources to build a sustainable future for people and the planet.
“We can turn the economy into a nature-positive economy...Not only conserving what we have but restoring what we've lost.”
- Mariana Bellot
In this episode, Laure connects with 4Nature host David Meyers about her crucial work to help design and fund community-driven, community-led marine protected areas at the scale of a seascape.
Laure describes her work with Indigenous Papuan communities to protect the global epicenter of marine diversity, the Bird's Head Peninsula (BHP), and how integral it was in the first phase of the project to listen to the needs of the communities with strong ancestral and economic relationships with the seascape. She also shares insights about the visionary Blue Nature Alliance and their mission to protect 5% of the global ocean by 2025; practically doubling the marine conservation efforts around the world.
“The (Bird’s Head Seascape) journey is still going…but that coordination and partnership is key and it does actually require effort to continue to bring groups together, to continue to listen, to continue to ask what it is that is important to people, particularly rights holders, and then be able to adapt together under shared priorities and visions.”
- Laure Katz
In this episode, 4Nature travels to Kuruwitu, Kenya for a conversation with Des Bowden of Oceans Alive about their work to preserve the coastal and marine ecosystems in Kenya.
After a morning watching a migrating pod of humpback whales and snorkeling in one of the protected and restored coastal areas, David and Des discuss what began as a conversation with the community elders about native and sustainable fishing traditions and turned into Karutu - a collective which established the first locally-managed marine area in the Western Indian Ocean (LMMA, or Tengefu in Swahili). Des shares details about the conservation efforts of Oceans Alive to empower and enable local communities to protect their marine resources and how establishing the first LMMA has proven that a locally-led approach is a successful conservation strategy, inspiring the establishment of 30 other LMMAs along the coast of Kenya.
“[The first Locally-Managed Marine Areas (LMMA) in Kuruwitu] is just an amazing example of what can happen if nature is left alone to recover and how quickly it can happen...it has become a model now for other locally-managed marine areas. We now have over thirty LMMAs along the Kenyan coast in various stages of development all inspired by what we’ve achieved here.”
- Des Bowden
In this episode, Edwin Wayonyi connects with David Meyers about his work engaging with many different stakeholders to find solutions for financing conservation in Kenya. Edwin speaks to the often overlooked importance of domestic tourism as a sustainable source of income to support the parks system and his work to engage the private sector in building up tourism surrounding the parks. David and Ediwn discuss some of the challenges to conservation that are arising with the climate crisis, and Edwin shares success stories of protecting livestock and lions across Kenya, from education campaigns to reduce human-wildlife conflicts to private sector partnerships such as Lion Lights, to protect livestock and lions across Kenya.
“Wildlife doesn’t wait for you to get money. Wildlife and our habitats need our protection now and today. Because the challenges are many.”
- Edwin Wayonyi
In this episode, Kim and David sit down with Andrew Bovarnick, the United Nations Development Programme Global Head, Food and Agricultural Commodity Systems (FACS). In their engaging discussion, Andrew shares highlights of his professional journey from researching in the Ecuadorian tropics, to his environmental economics and policy training and now his current priority to bring economic instruments and market-based incentives into the conservation work supported by UNDP.
With his focus on collaboration, Andrew is leading UNDP’s commodities platforms approach to establish long-term stakeholder engagement around the world. As successfully piloted in the cattle ranching community of Paraguay, these platforms bring relevant parties together to debate, discuss, disagree, and ultimately formulate collective actions to positively transform their sectors to the benefit of all; nature included.
“We sometimes assume…that there are a lot of opposing agendas. But… it may just be about bringing the stakeholders to the table and facilitating conversations to find those common areas of interest”
- Andrew Bovarnick
In our first episode of the year, David speaks with Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley, proponents of the protected area movement for more than 20 years and the partners behind Equilibrium Research, a conservation consultancy offering practical solutions to conservation challenges, from concept, to implementation, to evaluation of impact. Sue and Nigel discuss the social origins of protected areas, the evolution of protected areas conservation as a force for climate change mitigation, their Protected Areas Benefit Assessment Tool and discuss their hopes for the future of area-based conservation in light of the Global Biodiversity Framework's "30x30" Target.
Sue and Nigel speak about the importance of empowering local and indigenous communities in OECM and PA management and integrating input from local communities in the policies surrounding these areas. They share with David their hope that more work can go into discovering what the wider social values and benefits of PA’s are for local communities, beyond their economic impact of protecting and restoring nature.
Learn more about Sue Stolton and Nigel Dudley’s work and the critical role of area-based conservation in their new book, “Leaving Space for Nature”.
“The protected area managers and religious leaders have two completely different languages in terms of how they view the world, but actually, they have the same goal in many places, which is biodiversity conservation. And I think what we need to do is try and find the language we can share, the visions we can share, and work together.”
- Sue Stolton
In our first episode of Season Two, we talk with Slav Gatchev from The Nature Conservancy to unravel the complexities and triumphs of sustainable debt and conservation finance. Gatchev, leading the sustainable debt team, brings a unique perspective shaped by his background in investment banking and emerging market development. He shares his transition from renewable energy and infrastructure financing to his pivotal role at The Nature Conservancy, highlighting the innovative ways in which financial instruments are employed to tackle conservation and biodiversity challenges. Delving into the evolution of debt-for-nature swaps, he explains their journey from small-scale initiatives to groundbreaking transactions like the Belize Blue Bonds, illustrating their significant impact in reducing national debt and bolstering conservation efforts.
We also examine the future potential of blue bonds and sovereign debt issuances in mitigating the triple crisis of debt sustainability, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Gatchev emphasizes the importance of these financial tools in the conservation community and their role in forging sustainable solutions for both governments and the environment. The conversation shifts to explore the innovative work of Gatchev's team, the broader implications of debt in environmental conservation, and the necessity of recognizing the economic and financial returns from investing in nature. This episode is a deep dive into the world of conservation finance, where debt transforms into a powerful agent for ecological preservation and economic resilience.
“There is massive annual underfunding of climate and conservation projects. And it’s getting worse, right? Because we keep digging. We haven’t stopped digging ourselves into a hole. So I would be the first to say that debt conversation, debt-for-nature swaps… are part of the solution"
- Slav Gatchev
This week, we're joined by Torsten Thiele, the trailblazer in blue infrastructure financing. From the depths of the ocean to the frontlines of urban development, we dive deep into how investing in the sea could be a game-changer. Learn how nature-positive projects, from preserving mangroves to enlarging wetlands, promise resilience and financial rewards.
Our discussion takes us to who's catching this wave—from city mayors to development banks. We also tackle the obstacles, like the shortage of ecologists in engineering projects and municipal resistance to novel solutions. All this while shedding light on opportunities for scaling up awareness and action. Intrigued? Cast your net and reel in this episode for a deep dive into a future where finance, ecology, and urban planning coalesce.
“Infrastructure finance is of course a large part of what we're doing. Over the next 20 years, we’ll spend 80 trillion on infrastructure. If we do that without understanding its impacts on nature, we will clearly end up having a big issue. So if we turn this around and say, here’s a huge opportunity to invest pro-nature and we can use the understanding of nature and nature based solutions in integrating risk reduction, building resilience, working for adaptation, it really gives us and entirely different outlook."
- Torsten Thiele