Financial Mechanism and Resources

T14 (Valuation): How to Use GEF Funding

This page aims to provide information regarding the full integration of biodiversity and its multiple values into policies, regulations, planning and development processes, poverty eradication strategies, strategic environmental assessments, environmental impact assessments and, as appropriate, national accounting, within and across all levels of government and across all sectors, in particular those with significant impacts on biodiversity, for recipient Parties and relevant stakeholders, including how to access funding of the Global Environment Facility in this regard. It is a work in progress and will be updated as necessary.

Many countries reported examples of incorporating biodiversity into various planning and development processes. There has been a steady upward trend of countries incorporating biodiversity values into national accounting and reporting systems. At the same time, there is less evidence that biodiversity has been truly integrated into development and poverty reduction planning as required by the target. Reported actions were: Modification or adoption of legislation and regulations; Efforts to incorporate biodiversity values and considerations into sectoral policies, including policies related to development, forestry, agriculture, fisheries, and energy; Publication of studies on the status of biodiversity to help inform decision-making; Building capacity to undertake surveys and studies related to natural capital accounting; Creating investment funds which account for the value of natural resources; Development of tools, guidelines and methodologies to support institutions in decision-making; Improved enforcement of existing policies. Some challenges were: Challenge of implementing regulatory frameworks and translating these to regional and local-level actions; Lack of mainstreaming; Difficulty of incorporating estimates of the financial costs of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation into the financial plans of other sectors.

Financial support of the Global Environment Facility

GEF-funded projects related to valuation

GEF-8 programming directions related to valuation includes:
  • Food Systems
  • Amazon, Congo, and Critical Forest Biomes
  • Net Zero Nature Positive Accelerator
  • Greening Transportation Infrastructure Development
  • BDFA: Objective One
  • BDFA: Objective Three

Guidance to the financial mechanism

The Conference of the Parties has invited the Global Environment Facility to support: Further development of approaches on the integration of biodiversity into poverty eradication and development processes. (Decision X/25, para. 5; X/6, para. 10; XIII/21, annex II, para. 13)

Guidance to Parties

  • Integrate the use of economic valuation and natural resource accounting tools into national planning processes in order to identify the hidden and non-hidden economic benefits provided by protected areas and who appropriates these benefits, and further integrate the market and non-market values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into national policies, plans, and strategies for relevant economic sectors, inter alia, national accounting systems and investment strategies, in order to promote sustainable use of components of biodiversity, and strengthen the implementation of existing plans; (III/18, para. 4; X/2, para. 7; XI/4, para. 13; VII/28, annex, goal 3.1; X/32, para. 2(b))
  • Identify mechanisms and measures to integrate the values of biodiversity into relevant national and local policies, programmes and planning processes, as well as reporting systems, in a manner adapted to national circumstances; (XI/30, para. 2)
  • Coordinate at the national level and engage different sectors (including, inter alia, energy, the financial sector, forestry, wildlife management, fisheries, water supply, agriculture, disaster prevention, health, and climate change) to fully account for the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services in decision-making; (X/32, para. 2(g))

Conservation and Sustainable Use
  • Promote the valuation of ecosystem goods and services provided by protected areas, especially the socio-economic costs and benefits to indigenous and local communities and other relevant stakeholders, and consider, in designing financial plans for the system of protected areas, funding mechanisms that channel the economic values of ecosystem services at local, regional and global levels; (VIII/24, para. 18(f), 18(b), 18(c); X/3, para. 11; VII/28, annex, goal 4.4; X/31B, para. 29(b); VIII/1, annex, priority action; IX/18B, para. 3(d))
  • Recognizes sustainable use as an effective tool in imbuing value to biodiversity; (V/24, para. 7)
  • Strengthen local capacity for sustainable tourism management, in order to ensure that benefits derived from tourism activities are shared by indigenous and local communities, while preserving natural and cultural heritage values. (VII/27, annex, action 1.3.7)

Genetic Resources
  • Undertake value addition and enhancement of naturally occurring genetic resources, based on the participatory approach, where appropriate, to work as incentives for their conservation and sustainable use; (IV/10, para. 1(h))
  • Develop endogenous research capabilities to add value to genetic resources and traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources through, inter alia, technology transfer; bioprospecting and associated research and taxonomic studies; and the development and use of valuation methods; (X/24, annex, para. 4.11; X/25, para. 13; XI/5, paras. 21, 22 and 23, and appendix I; XII/30, paras. 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and appendix II; X/1, para. 14; XI/1, D, para. 2 and E, para. 2; NP-1/6; NP-1/8, annex I, para. 29(a); and NP-1/9, annex, para. 34; XIII/21, annex II, para. 23(d))

  • Require environmental impact assessments to consider the valuation of the goods and services of potentially affected ecosystems; (IV/4, annex I, para. 9(g))
  • Undertake economic valuation of the biological diversity of dry and sub-humid lands and develop and use economic instruments that enhance productivity of dry and sub-humid lands ecosystems; (V/23, annex I, activity 7(g); VIII/2, para. 5)
  • Develop markets for products derived from the sustainable use of biological diversity in dry and sub-humid lands, adding value to harvested produce; (V/23, annex I, activity 9(d))
  • Increase knowledge on monetary and non-monetary cost-benefit accounting for forest biodiversity evaluation and broad-based awareness of the value of forest biological diversity, and incorporate socio-economic and cultural values and other forest values into forest planning and management and national accounting systems and seek to estimate such figures for subsistence economies; (IX/5, para. 1(e); VI/22, annex, programme element 1, goal 4, objective 1, and programme element 2, goal 2 and goal 3, (a)(e)(g))
  • Undertake comprehensive valuations of the goods and services of inland water biodiversity and ecosystems, and include their intrinsic, aesthetic, cultural, socio-economic and other values, in all relevant decision-making across the appropriate sectors, such as national accounting and reporting systems; (X/28, para. 12; IV/4, annex I, para. 9(a) and 9(f)(i); VII/4, annex, para. 2.3.3)
  • Assess the current and potential contribution of biodiversity to island peoples in terms of sustaining livelihoods, economic activity and cultural value, and Increase public awareness of the value of island biodiversity and of preventing species from becoming threatened; (VIII/1, annex, priority action,; XI/15, para. 4(a))
  • Undertake valuation of marine and coastal biodiversity and ecosystem services and its integration into national accounting systems in order to increase sectoral integration; (X/29, para. 13(i); IV/5, annex, programme element 3)
  • Enhance public awareness of the socio-cultural and environmental values of coral reefs and improve the capacity of civil society to contribute to monitoring, including through the use of mobile data applications. (XII/23, annex, para. 10g)
  • Develop and implement targeted education and awareness campaigns for diverse stakeholders on the socioeconomic value of cold-water biodiversity and ecosystems, and the role of various stakeholders in increasing the resilience of cold-water biodiversity by reducing direct stressors; (XIII/11, annex II, para. 5.5(d))
  • Develop methodologies for assigning value to the ecological services provided by land management systems in order to develop economic-incentive mechanisms for compensating the poor and vulnerable mountain communities, and increase broad-based awareness of the values of mountain biological diversity through, inter alia, national and local public awareness campaign; (VII/27, annex, goal 3.2.3, and goal 3.5, activity 3.5.7)
  • Compile, review and analyze the value of biodiversity for food and nutrition; (VIII/23A, annex, element 1)
  • Assess the benefits of pollinators and pollination, taking into account the economic value to agriculture and food production and the value to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, as well as cultural and other values, and promote awareness about the value of pollinator diversity and the multiple goods and services it provides for sustainable productivity, amongst producer organizations, agricultural cooperatives and enterprises, and consumers, with a view to promoting responsible practices; (XIII/15, para. 7(o), 7(v); VI/5, annex II, para. 1.2, 2.2, 3.1)

  • Take into account the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services when planning and undertaking climate‑change‑related activities by using a range of valuation techniques, and recognize and communicate the value and the benefits of comprehensive, effectively managed and ecologically representative protected‑area systems in climate-change adaptation and mitigation; (X/33, para. 8(y); X/31B, para. 14(c))

  • Consider health-biodiversity linkages in environmental impact assessments, risk assessments and strategic environmental assessments, as well as in health impact assessments, social and economic valuation and the evaluation of trade-offs; (XIII/6, para. 4(d))

  • Ensure that the valuation of biodiversity resources includes their use by both men and women, including gender-disaggregated data; (XII/7, annex, para. 7)

Budgeting and Financing
  • Integrate biodiversity and ecosystem benefits, including services and functions, into national budgeting processes in order to capture the value of biodiversity in national development planning across all sectors; (XII/5, para. 4)
  • Design and implement, as appropriate, measures to encourage investments by the business and financial sectors to mainstream biodiversity in all sectors, including measures to promote public disclosure of corporate activities related to biodiversity and encourage the financial sector to develop approaches to mainstream the values of biodiversity and ecosystems in financing and investment; (14/3, para. 13(j))
  • Develop and implement additional means and methods of generating and allocating finance, inter alia, on the basis of a stronger valuation of ecosystem services; (X/31B, para. 10(c))
  • Take measures and establish, or enhance, mechanisms with a view to accounting for the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services in public and private sector decision‑making, including by revising and updating national biodiversity strategies and action plans to further engage different sectors of government and the private sector, and recognize the importance of assessing the economic, social, cultural and ethical values of biodiversity and ecosystem services for the enhanced calibration of positive incentive measures; (IV/10, para. 1(c); X/44, para. 6)

Private sector
  • Promote the integration of biodiversity and ecosystem services values into private sector activities, including large and publicly listed companies, and taking into consideration the needs and circumstances of small and medium-sized enterprises; (XI/7, para. 3(a); XIII/3, para. 87)

  • Undertake national assessments to capture the broad range of biodiversity values in accounting and reporting systems, such as recording levels of existing wild meat consumption into national statistics, as a means of valuing the resource and recognizing the benefits of its legal and sustainable use, and giving it appropriate weight in public policy and planning; (XII/3, annex IV, para. 28; VIII/22, para. 4(c); VIII/25, para. 2; XI/30, para. 9; 14/7, annex, para. 45(b))
  • Recognize and take into account the diverse and holistic intrinsic values of biodiversity, including its spiritual and cultural values and raise awareness of the multiple values of biodiversity, and introduce or scale up the use of environmental economic accounting and natural capital accounting, as well as diverse methods and methodologies to assess the multiple values of biodiversity, as appropriate, including the contributions of collective actions from indigenous peoples and local communities, of protected and other effective area-based conservation measures, and of living in harmony with nature, promoting a harmonious relationship between peoples and nature; (XII/5, para. 9; XIII/3, para. 18(a), 18(b); XII/2C, para. 1(b); VII/18, para. 8)

Indigenous Matters
  • Engage with indigenous peoples and local communities in the implementation of the Convention, including by recognizing, supporting and valuing their collective actions, including their efforts to protect and conserve their territories and areas, for the goals of the Convention, and, fully engage them in the preparation of national reports, the revision and implementation of national biodiversity strategies and action plans, and the process for developing the post-2020 biodiversity framework for the Convention; (14/17, para. 4)
  • Incorporate customary sustainable use practices or policies, as appropriate, with the full and effective participation of indigenous and local communities, into national biodiversity strategies and action plans (NBSAPs), as a strategic way to maintain biocultural values and achieve human well-being; (XII/12B, annex, V, para. 1)

  • Target communication towards increasing awareness of and action for biodiversity and its values globally; (14/26, para. 1)
  • Provide common training and other learning opportunities to the national focal points of the biodiversity-related conventions and other relevant staff, on communication methods to raise awareness on the value of biodiversity and ecosystem services with their respective high-level policy decision-makers, technical knowledge on synergy and coordination; (XIII/24, annex I, para. 25))

IPBES Values Assessment (2022)

The number of studies that value nature has increased on average by more than 10% per year over the last four decades. The most prominent focus of recent (2010-2020) valuation studies has been on improving the condition of nature (65% of valuation studies reviewed) and on improving people’s quality of life (31%), with just 4% focused on improving issues around social justice. 74% of valuation studies focused on instrumental values, with 20% focused on intrinsic values, and just 6% focused on relational values.

The causes of the global biodiversity crisis and the opportunities to address them are tightly linked to the ways in which nature is valued in political and economic decisions at all levels

Despite the diversity of nature’s values, most policymaking approaches have prioritized a narrow set of values at the expense of both nature and society, as well as of future generations, and have often ignored values associated with indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ worldviews

The diversity of nature’s values in policymaking can be advanced by considering a typology of nature’s values that encompasses the richness of people’s relationships with nature

Valuation processes can be tailored to equitably take into account the values of nature of multiple stakeholders in different decision-making contexts

More than 50 valuation methods and approaches, originating from diverse disciplines and knowledge systems, are available to date to assess nature’s values; choosing appropriate and complementary methods requires assessing trade-offs between their relevance, robustness and resource requirements Valuation methods, originating from diverse disciplines and knowledge systems (including indigenous peoples and local communities), can be grouped into four non-disciplinary “method families”: (i) nature-based valuation gathers, measures or analyses information about the properties of nature and its contributions to people; (ii) statement-based valuation directly asks people to express their values; (iii) behaviour-based valuation identifies how people value nature by observing their behaviour and practices; and (iv) integrated valuation brings together various types of values assessed with different information sources. Each method family relies on different data sources, different levels and forms of social participation, identifies different value types, and has specific technical and skill requirements and limitations. Different valuation approaches have trade-offs between relevance (i.e., salience in terms of the values that can be used in decisions), robustness (i.e., reliable, consistent and socially representative) and resources (i.e., time, financial, technical and human resources).

Despite increasing calls to consider valuation in policy decisions, scientific documentation shows that less than 5 per cent of published valuation studies report its uptake in policy decisions

Achieving sustainable and just futures requires institutions that enable a recognition and integration of the diverse values of nature and nature’s contributions to people. Only 2% of the more than 1,000 studies reviewed consult stakeholders on valuation findings and only 1% of the studies involved stakeholders in every step of the process of valuing nature. What is in short supply is the use of valuation methods to tackle power asymmetries among stakeholders, and to transparently embed the diverse values of nature into policy-making

Transformative change needed to address the global biodiversity crisis relies on shifting away from predominant values that currently over-emphasize short term and individual material gains, to nurturing sustainability-aligned values across society

Working with a combination of four values-based leverage points may catalyse transformation towards sustainable and just futures: (i) recognizing the diversity of nature’s values through undertaking relevant and robust valuation; (ii) embedding valuation into the different phases of decision-making processes to allow meaningful consideration of nature’s diverse values; (iii) reforming policy in order to realign incentives, rights, and legal regulations with the diverse values of nature and to empower actors to express and act upon their sustainability-aligned values; and (iv) creating spaces to deliberate, develop and shift societal goals and norms attuned to the agreed global objectives of sustainability and justice

Information, resource (i.e., technical and financial) and capacity gaps hinder the inclusion of diverse values of nature in decision making. Capacity-building and development, and collaborations among a range of societal actors, can help bridge these gaps