Around 1 million species face extinction in the next few decades and 10% of the earth’s wilderness has been lost in the past two decades.
Humans depend on nature, but unsustainable activities are driving massive biodiversity losses and eroding cultures around the world at a rate higher than ever before in history. Without urgent action to comprehensively safeguard biodiversity and wilderness areas, the prospects of managing other inter-related global challenges, such as climate change and the spread of zoonotic diseases, are grim.
Banks and financial institutions need to be held accountable for their role in driving biodiversity loss, fragmenting critical ecosystems, negatively impacting indigenous and traditional communities, and harming wilderness areas. These campaigns from our partners exemplify why we need banks to adopt our proposed No Go policy.
Banks and Biodiversity No Go Policy
In order to safeguard the rights of Indigenous and traditional communities in formally , informally, or traditionally held conserved areas – such as Indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCA), Indigenous Territories (TIs) or public lands not yet demarcated– as well as to better address and reflect the current crises of climate change, biodiversity loss, and emergence of zoonotic diseases, the Banks and Biodiversity campaign calls on banks and financial institutions to adopt a “No Go” policy which prohibits any direct or indirect financing related to unsustainable, extractive, industrial, environmentally, and/or socially harmful activities in or which may potentially impact the following areas:
Areas recognized by international conventions and agreements including but not limited to the Bonn Convention, Ramsar Convention, World Heritage Convention and Convention on Biological Diversity, or other international bodies such as UNESCO (Biosphere Reserves, UNESCO Global Geoparks, etc) or Food and Agricultural Organization (vulnerable marine ecosystems), International Maritime Organization (particularly sensitive areas), IUCN Designated Areas (Categories IA – VI)
Nature, wilderness, archaeological, paleontological and other protected areas that are nationally or sub-nationally recognized and protected by law or other regulations/policies; this includes sites which may be located in or overlap with formally, informally, or traditionally held conserved areas such as Indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCA), Indigenous Territories (ITs) or public lands not yet demarcated.
Habitats with endemic or endangered species, including key biodiversity areas
Intact primary forests and vulnerable, secondary forest ecosystems, including but not limited to boreal, temperate, and tropical forest landscape.
Free-flowing rivers, defined as bodies of water whose flow and connectivity remain largely unaffected by human activities
Protected or at-risk marine or coastland ecosystems, including mangrove forests, wetlands, reef systems, and those located in formally, informally, or traditionally held areas, Indigenous Territories (ITs), or public lands not yet demarcated, or Indigenous and community conserved areas (ICCA)
Any Indigenous Peoples and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCAs), community-based conservation areas, formally, informally, traditionally, customarily held resources or areas, Indigenous Territories, sacred sites and/or land with ancestral significance to traditional and Indigenous communities’ areas where the free, prior, informed consent of Indigenous and Traditional Communities have not been obtained
Iconic Ecosystems, defined as ecosystems with unique, superlative natural, biodiversity, and/or cultural value which may sprawl across state boundaries, and thus may not be wholly or officially recognized or protected by host countries or international bodies. Examples include but are not limited to the Amazon, the Arctic, among other at-risk ecosystems
Other international bodies have already recognized the value of developing No Go Areas, such as the World Heritage Committee and the UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI). The Banks and Biodiversity No Go Policy also aligns with banks and financial institutions’ current practice of following institutional Exclusion Lists for sensitive industries or areas, as well as global goals of preventing further biodiversity loss. Projects that do not fall within Exclusion Lists should still be subject to rigorous environmental and social due diligence, assessment, screening, planning, and mitigation policies and procedures.