In the age of climate change and other major global disruptions, it is more important than ever to think about the impact that humans have on the land upon which we are so dependent. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, and the resulting economic turmoil, there is legitimate concern that climate-related issues will take a backseat to the recovery process, which could exacerbate climate and conservation challenges.
It is because of these external threats and challenges that climate advocates and conservationists need to be more vigilant than ever. There still presently exists an abundant amount of financing out there that could potentially be steered toward landscape restoration and rejuvenation, but competing demands due to the COVID 19 pandemic could weaken green investments overall. As such, unique and attractive financing approaches are needed to secure the fragile pool of available capital –solutions like the groundbreaking Dutch Fund for Climate and Development (DFCD).
Mobilising finance for landscape impact
In November 2019, a consortium comprised of the WWF-Netherlands, Climate Fund Managers (CFM), and SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, and led by the Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank, FMO, was confirmed to lead DFCD. With a total value of €160 M investment from the Dutch government, the DFCD is the largest ever private sector finance in WWF history.
DFCD will enable private sector investment in projects that sit within landscape frameworks aimed at climate action and sustainable development in developing countries.
To help strengthen DFCD’s landscape work, they have teamed up with the WWF Landscape Finance Lab (the Lab) to support the structuring and implementing of landscape programmes. DFCD will provide Finance and technical support to landscape programmes initiated and designed with local WWF offices and their partners. Based on the needs of each landscape team, the collaboration will include:
- Stakeholder mapping and engagement
- Training in the landscape approach
- Bankable projects mapping
- Capacity building
- Landscape visions and targets
- Landscape zoning plans
- Landscape action and investment plans
and monitoring and evaluation
DFCD will also engage with the Lab’s extensive platform to showcase the partnership’s work and results.
“We are thrilled to be working with DFCD, not only because this will strengthen our shared vision of building financial sustainability in landscapes, but also because of their robust commitment to landscape development and strategies,” said Paul Chatterton, the Lab’s founder and lead.
DFCD’s landscape methodology is a three-stage process of 1) identifying potential landscape projects for support; 2) building landscape programmes and designing bankable projects; and 3) creating enabling environments that ensure policy, governance, capacity building and E&S safeguards.
As one of DFCD’s preferred network partners, the Lab will be instrumental throughout these three stages, helping with the selection of the landscapes via a tailor-made landscape scorecard, organizing workshops to identify critical issues in the delivery of the programmes, assisting with scoping studies, organizing and/or strengthening multi-stakeholder platforms, implementing landscape interventions and stimulating knowledge-sharing through the Lab’s network and platform.
Focusing on globally important landscapes
The Lab and DFCD plan to collaborate on up to 15 landscapes, with work now underway in Thailand, Vietnam, Uganda, Colombia, Pakistan, Zambia and Brazil among others. These include some of the most important areas for biodiversity on the planet.
Three landscapes are being assessed using the landscape scorecard. In southern Kenya and northern Tanzania –nicknamed SOKNOT — the Lab and DFCD are providing training to the teams on the ground and supporting them in developing action plans related to landscape management, planning and engagement. Additionally, research is underway on values chains and on a climate risk assessment. In 2021, the team will develop a comprehensive climate strategy and investment plan to unlock climate finance opportunities as well as scoping activities to identify bankable projects. Similar efforts are being designed in the Paraguay part of the Pantanal wetlands and the Kafue National Park in Zambia.
Demonstrating landscape investment approaches
This partnership aims not only to create investments in landscapes, but also to help shift the overall green investment paradigm towards prioritising financing at landscape scale.
“Bankable projects under DFCD are designed to leverage hundreds of millions of euros to improve the wellbeing and livelihoods of vulnerable groups as well as enhance the health of critical ecosystems. We want to also demonstrate to investors that embedding these projects in a landscape frame is a way of guaranteeing impact at a greater scale and more sustainably within a green investment portfolio” said Aaron Vermeulen, Head of Green Finance for WWF-Netherlands and WWF lead for DFCD.