The governments of Peru, Colombia, and Chile are all facing unprecedented levels of development, much of it in environmentally sensitive and valuable areas. This week, they will be meeting with the private sector and environmentalists to hammer out an agreement on biodiversity offsetting.
15 July 2013 | Late last year, Colombia enacted a “no net loss” policy on a whole range of planned development projects – meaning that any roads, mines, and pipelines that damage habitat must restore habitat of equal or higher value nearby or face penalties. It’s a clear response to the surge in construction and mining there, and a first step towards creating biodiversity offsets.
With gold prices hovering around $1,300 per ounce, energy demand on the rise, and infrastructure investments as high as they’ve ever been, Colombia, Peru and Chile all face growing threats to their rich natural heritage, and each is exploring ways of ensuring that any loss of habitat is offset by a gain. This week, the Peruvian Ministry of Environment (MINAM) is hosting a meeting in Lima designed to help the three compare, contrast, and perhaps even harmonize their approaches to compensatory mitigation banking.
Entitled “Policy and environmental compensation standards and EIA: tools for conservation and joint investment project,” the two-day workshop takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday, and aims to promote interagency cooperation on the creation of common environmental standards, policies, and environmental impact assessments.
The meeting has drawn broad attention from the private sector, in part because the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank) has developed new performance standards requiring clients with an impact on “natural habitat” to demonstrate “no net loss” of biodiversity. Those affecting “critical habitat” face even stricter criteria: they are obliged to demonstrate “net gains” in biodiversity.
Representatives from the IFC will be presenting at the workshop, as will representatives from the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP), the German Development Bank (GIZ), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and others.