Banking on Biodiversity

03 November 2009 | News story

Last week saw IUCN and the IDB, the Inter-American Development Bank, sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the first time.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to work more closely with the IDB,” said IUCN’s Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, on signing the MoU. “I am confident that there is much we can learn from each other’s experiences and we look forward to developing creative approaches that recognize the specificity, diversity and uniqueness of Latin American and the Caribbean region”.

Both IUCN and the IDB have a long history of working in Latin America, developing solutions to biodiversity challenges, working on cross-border issues, implementing on the ground programs and establishing networks with regional stakeholders, governments, non-governmental organizations and scientific institutions.

"Among financing institutions, the IDB is a point of reference in terms of environmental standards.  As an important financer of infrastructure in South America, the IDB has an excellent opportunity to lead other financing institutions in the region in giving the environment the importance it merits in investment decisions.  The alliance with IUCN will enable the IDB to play a leading role in mainstreaming the environment into investment decisions," says Joao De Queiroz, Director of IUCN Regional Office for South America.

As IUCN moves to build support for its Caribbean Initiative, which was launched at the 2008 World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, it is hoped that the IDB will share lessons learned from the region and play a role in providing greater visibility for Caribbean environmental issues and generating support for sustainable development needs.

“The future sustainability of the Caribbean region depends on effective and integrated regional approaches that address the special circumstances of small islands and the region’s ecosystems, resources and capacities,” explains Grethel Aguilar, Director of IUCN’s Regional Office for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean Initiative. “As we move to the implementation stage of IUCN’s Caribbean Initiative, promoting an ecosystems approach to building resilience and supporting adaptation to climate changes affecting livelihoods, we look forward to expanding IDB’s involvement across the Caribbean.”

Through this partnership, IUCN will play a pivotal role in strengthening the capacity of the Bank’s regional developing member countries to effectively address environmental and development issues related to climate change, marine, coastal and freshwater resources management, environmental and social impacts of infrastructure investments and poverty and gender equity.

“Climate change is forcing us to rethink many of our assumptions about development and economic growth,” said IDB President Luis Alberto “IUCN’s deep expertise in the areas of conservation and ecology make it a natural partner for the Bank. We are integrating climate concerns into the Bank’s entire lending portfolio, and IUCN’s experience in sustainability issues will enhance our ability to develop the practical solutions to mitigation and adaptation that our member governments demand.”