Biodiversity offset mechanisms

Basis for action:

"To consider biodiversity offset mechanisms where relevant and appropriate while ensuring that they are not used to undermine unique components of biodiversity"... Strategy for resource mobilization, objective 4.2

Number of initiatives, and respective amounts, supplementary to the financial mechanism established under Article 21, that engage Parties and relevant organizations in new and innovative financial mechanisms, which consider intrinsic values and all other values of biodiversity, in accordance with the objectives of the Convention and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of the Benefits Arising out of Their Utilization

Status and trends
Biodiversity offset mechanisms are well advanced in North America and Australia, and increasingly developed in a number of European countries, such as United Kingdom, France and Sweden. Private and public expenditures for ecological compensation under key federal programs are estimated to be approximately $3.8 billion annually in the United States (ELI 2007). Mitigation banking mechanisms can reduce uncertainty over whether the compensatory mitigation will be successful in offsetting project impacts; assemble and apply extensive financial resources, planning, and scientific expertise not always available to many permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation proposals; reduce permit processing times and provide more cost-effective compensatory mitigation opportunities; and enable the efficient use of limited agency resources in the review and compliance monitoring of compensatory mitigation projects because of consolidation (U.S.EPA).
Over two thirds of countries have legal requirements through environmental impact assessment legislations, policies and procedures for compensations for environmental damages, and nearly a quarter of them have already implemented or tested various forms of biodiversity offset mechanisms. As 9 percent of global ecosystems need to be restored under the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, the potential for biodiversity offsets can mount up to $45 billion through ecosystems restoration.

  • United Nations
  • United Nations Environment Programme