Keeping nature at the heart of post-COVID recovery: are we getting there?

In October 2020, MAVA launched a call for proposals seeking projects that could strengthen the role of nature and its conservation in both the immediate recovery phase and the mid-term (re)construction phase of the COVID crisis. The call triggered big interest with 273 submissions out of which five were selected for support. Below is an update on progress of these projects.

 

EU NATIONAL RECOVERY AND RESILIENCE PLANS

The EUR 672.5 bn Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for EU Member States to channel new funding towards reshaping economic sectors, supporting communities and restoring ecosystems while simultaneously creating jobs for resilient societies and contributing to a healthy and just economic recovery. To access EU funds for their pandemic recovery, Member States submitted National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs) to the European Commission that outline reforms and investments for recovering from the consequences of the pandemic. MAVA decided to support three assessments of these reports through a nature lens to show improvement potential.

These three different and complementary analyses show that unfortunately most of the EU member state’s recovery and resilience plans have missed the opportunity to propose investments in nature-positive spending. This series of reports provides an overview of the situation from different perspectives: a quantitative analysis of ten national recovery and resilience plans, an assessment of ten central and eastern European countries’ NRRPs, and high level insights on what kind of a future we can expect from the proposed NRRP plans and what more needs to be done.

These reports represent only a piece of the whole engagement process that provides insights on positive job impacts and policy coherence between the organisations who published the reports and the different EU countries, the EU Commission and EU Parliament members.

Project partners: a cluster of three project consortia linked together by light coordination: Climate & Sustainability/The Club of Rome/Vivid Economics ; Bankwatch/Euronatur ; ZOE Institute/New Economics Foundation.

 

THE GREEN EMERGING SENEGAL PLAN (Green PSE)

The Green Emerging Senegal Plan is a priority initiative of the second phase of the Emerging Senegal Plan 2035, Senegal’s main long term development policy. The MAVA grant supports the design of the Green PSE, which is expected to become the country’s main environmental roadmap and the identification of the corresponding financing mechanisms.

The first stage of the design process defines the vision, strategic areas and key objectives. This preparatory work is under way and builds on a review of Senegal’s relevant policies, programmes and stakeholders. At the same time, the Greenness of Stimulus Index is being rolled out on Senegal’s recovery plan, with a first set of scenarios in consultation with government and soon available for broader consultation. These insights will also feed into the next stages of the Green PSE process.

Project partner: Implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute, support is provided to the Operational Monitoring Bureau of the PSE, which is attached to the President’s office.

 

DEBT RESTRUCTURING OR/AND RELIEF IN FOUR WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES – MAURITANIA, CABO VERDE, SENEGAL & GUINEA BISSAU

Debt was already a major concern for Mauritania, Cabo Verde, Senegal and Guinea Bissau pre-COVID and the problem has now been hugely exacerbated by the economic shock from the pandemic. Linking post-COVID debt management to climate resilience and nature can help support a green and inclusive post-COVID recovery.

Post COVID debt management provides an opportunity to massively scale up climate and nature positive outcomes through national budget support. With appropriate fiduciary safeguards, creditors provide debt relief or loans direct into a debtor government’s budget when agreed climate and biodiversity targets are met.

This project will prepare debt deals for nature and climate outcomes through an 18-month technical support programme. So far the project has assessed the debt situation of all four countries and identified a methodology for defining the key performance indicators for climate and nature. These indicators, depending on country, include policy commitments made in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAPs) and Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) or increased investment in marine and terrestrial conservation, land restoration and coastal management.

The initial scoping Phase is six months and lasts until mid-July 2021. Then countries where there is strong interest from debtor governments will be considered for a next phase with the goal to agree to concrete debt deals for climate and nature. So far an expression of interest have been received from the ministry of finance of Cabo Verde and Senegal is expected to follow soon.

Project partners: the International Institute for Environment and Development, Bankers without BoundariesInternational Union for the Conservation of Nature, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Association for the Development and Environment of Cabo Verde.

 

As parts of the world are moving more firmly to towards the post-COVID recovery phase, MAVA hopes that this collection of projects can contribute to turning a tragic global event that deepened our awareness about the human nature interdependency into a new mindset, new structures and new finance for a healthy economy and for healthy people on a healthy planet.

 

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