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South African State Bank to Set Up Its First Biodiversity Fund

South African State Bank to Set Up Its First Biodiversity Fund
The Pincuspid Protea, (Protea Leucospermum cordifolium). (Photo: Gallo Images / Shaun Roy)

The Development Bank of Southern Africa is setting up its first biodiversity fund and will approach one of the world’s biggest dedicated environmental funds later this year to boost its size. 

The biodiversity fund will get 50 million rand ($2.7 million) of seed capital from the DBSA’s Green Fund, which was established with 1.1 billion rand from the South African government’s environment department. The state-owned bank will then target the Global Environment Facility and private investors for additional financing.

While money has flowed into climate funds that promote projects that combat global warming investing in preserving biodiversity has been slower to take off. The DBSA hopes to change this. It issued a so-called white paper this month to guide investors to integrate biodiversity concerns into their decision making.

The fund is one of “the first real big steps to get this stuff going,” Michael Hillary, the DBSA’s group executive for financing operations, said in an interview. “At the back end of this year we will start getting some more traction. Wealth funds are recognizing how critical biodiversity funds are.”

Read More on Biodiversity and South Africa:

The GEF, which has 186 member countries, has provided $8.6 billion in financing over the last 18 years for projects ranging from confronting biodiversity loss to land degradation.

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