Sherab Lhamo

A panel discussion catalysing resources to meet the financing gap for the conservation of tiger landscapes, highlighted the urgent need for innovative financing mechanisms to bridge the gap in funding for tiger landscape conservation.

Yesterday, in Paro, a panel discussion talked about finding money to protect tiger areas.

New ways must be employed to get the money, the world needs to protect the species, the panelists shared.

Participants stressed the immediate necessity of addressing the pressing concerns surrounding climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

They underscored the role of innovative financing in confronting these challenges, and highlighted the potential of carbon credits and other market-based mechanisms, to generate funds for conservation to ensure sustainable funding in the long term.

The discussion emphasised the importance of acknowledging the private sector’s role in aligning with conservation efforts.

Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, the CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility, said that countries invested between five to 21 percent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in nature conservation, and highlighted the challenge of adhering to policies and the detrimental impact of investments on nature conservation.

He said that 80 percent of investment in nature conservation came from domestic resources.

To close the domestic gap, there must be a vested interest in mobilising resources internally, with or without financial support from abroad.

He also underscored the importance for countries to tackle those detrimental investments that persistently harm nature conservation.

To reduce the financial gap, he said,  a country must be transparent, deal with gender inequality, invest in good governance, invest in human resources, and channel resources through civil society.

Carlos also highlighted the political challenge, stating that individuals who comprehend the importance of investing in natural capital require support from those who do not condition actions related to nature or climate on obtaining additional resources.

Leki Wangmo, the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance in Bhutan, underscored the government’s dedication to mobilising resources, emphasising that every citizen in Bhutan is entrusted with the conservation effort, as outlined in the constitution.

She reiterated the commitment to maintaining 60 percent forest coverage indefinitely and highlighted the government’s role in incentivising innovative financing mechanisms.

Various financing initiatives were discussed, including levying taxes on vehicle imports, fossil fuels, and other pollutants, along with implementing a sustainable development charge on tourism within Bhutan.

Additionally, Vince Perez the chairperson of Alternergy and Board Directors WWF-US shared a global consulting company and a non-governmental organisation’s project that proposed a measure to enhance consumer awareness by providing transparency through QR codes, enabling verification of product origins from sustainably managed areas.

Bhutan hosted one of the biggest tiger conferences to date.

The two-day conference, attended by over 300 participants, including 157 international delegates, concluded with an auction of tiger paintings and Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), raising Nu 7,73,644.32 (USD 8,781.48) for tiger conservation efforts.

Organisers expressed that the conference served as the initial phase in a collaborative endeavour aimed at securing sustainable financing for the preservation of tiger habitats.