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IDB Launches Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Program

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New program to support sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is launching a Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Program (BSE) that will help Latin America and the Caribbean leverage its natural capital to achieve sustainable development.

The Program will support measures and projects that integrate the economic value of biodiversity and ecosystem services into key productive sectors and infrastructure, fill in knowledge gaps in priority ecosystems, identify new biodiversity-friendly business opportunities, and promote south-south exchange of knowledge and effective policies.

Latin America and the Caribbean is home to a wealth of biodiversity and ecosystems that generate critical, life-supporting benefits for people. These include food, shelter, clean water and air, flood mitigation, disease and pest control, and sacred places, among others. These benefits, known as ecosystem services, directly support sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism, which employ 17 percent of the labor force, account for 15 percent of the region’s gross domestic product, and half of its exports.

“The Program will leverage the region’s competitive advantage in natural capital and generate new sources of employment and growth to meet the increasing development demands in Latin America and the Caribbean,“ said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno, who will announce the Program during the IDB’s Annual Meeting in Panama today.

The Bank has established a special multidonor fund and has initially provided $3 million for 2013 to finance grants, loan preparations, knowledge products and capacity building.

The first contributor to the fund is the Presidential Agency for Cooperation (APC) of Colombia. APC will become founding partner, with an initial contribution of $700.000. This effort from Colombia reflects the leadership of the country and the interest in the region of advancing sustainable development.

The IDB plans to join forces with a number of stakeholders such as governments, businesses, and civil society organizations to have a deep impact in the region in terms of knowledge, development capacity, public policy reform, and financing. This cross-cutting effort will help foster environmental governance, increase private sector innovation in environmental protection, and increase financing to biodiversity and ecosystem services measurement and conservation.

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