ESCWA and the Government of Sweden launch a platform for protecting biodiversity - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
Press release

14 Jul 2023

ESCWA and the Government of Sweden launch a platform for protecting biodiversity

Beirut, 14 July 2023--Biodiversity in the Arab region remains under pressure due to water scarcity, land degradation, desertification, and climate change. Despite the diverse ecosystems in the region, including deserts, mountains, coastal areas, wetlands and forests, public investment in nature conservation and restoration remains limited. Amid this reality, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the Government of Sweden launched a multi-stakeholder platform for protecting biodiversity in the Arab region during an inception meeting held on 12 and 13 July at the United Nations House in Beirut. Statements of the ministers of environment of the State of Palestine and Lebanon were delivered during the opening session.

“This platform responds to the call to mobilize biodiversity finance under a changing climate in view of accelerating the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, said ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary Mounir Tabet.

Through the platform, ESCWA will offer capacity-building, technical expertise and financial assistance to three working groups that will address: (a) nature-based solutions for climate resilience; (b) land degradation in arid agricultural zones; and (c) renewable energy and biodiversity. They will bring together stakeholders working across different sectors in the region to identify priority interventions in their respective thematic areas. The groups will also work on formulating bankable biodiversity projects that can be used as proposals for requesting funds from international, regional and national financial institutions, as well as other potential donors interested in supporting biodiversity conservation in the region.

“The importance of the platform lies in its capacity to mobilize biodiversity finance in the context of limited climate finance in the region,” Tabet noted.

In fact, out of the $570 billion in climate finance needs articulated by Arab States in their nationally determined contributions, only $34.5 billion in international public finance was received through the year 2020. Additionally, only 30% of that amount was dedicated to adaptation, where funding for biodiversity interventions within the agriculture, forestry, land and water sectors largely sit.

The inception meeting held at ESCWA was an important step to mobilize the engagement of diverse groups and stakeholders including Governments, non-governmental organizations and financial institutions, to collectively examine and identify ways to address priority challenges affecting biodiversity in the region as Arab States seek to advance the achievement of global biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals.

The platform was established within the scope of the “Climate Resilience through Regional Cooperation for Inclusive Sustainable Development” project supported by the Government of Sweden.



One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.


For more information:

- Ms. Maryam Sleiman, Public Information Assistant, +961-81-769-888; email:

- Ms. Rania Harb, Public Information Assistant, +961-70-008-879; email:

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