Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) has reiterated calls for banks to thoroughly screen projects before financing them in the quest to conserve biodiversity.
It emphasised that if banks keep to the ‘Biodiversity No Go Policy’, which requires financial institutions to conduct environmental risk assessments of project proposals, “screening out” high-risk ones as they may harm the ecosystems, they will significantly preserve the environment.
SYND re-echoed this at a capacity building session it organised for a section of media practitioners on the ‘Banks and Biodiversity No Go Policy’.
The interaction, which seeks to educate media professionals about the policy, also underscored the importance of the media in promoting increased action to safeguard biodiversity.
The focal point lead of the Biodiversity Team at SYND, Gifty Elikplim Agbenyefia told the B&FT that beyond the banks keeping their guard, the media’s role in protecting the ecosystem by encouraging environmentally sustainable projects cannot be underestimated.
“Despite the significant role banks play in financing these sectors and activities, many financial institutions are yet to develop robust policies or practices to address the biodiversity impacts of their lending. We can talk about the Densu River, we can talk about mangroves and about wetlands, which are currently becoming housing grants for building projects in our country.
These are ecosystems that have been in existence for years, so why should we engage in activities that would put you and me at risk? By this engagement, we want the media to be able to understand our position on the banks and biodiversity global policy, and also advocate in that regard,” she said
She also advocated for education and awareness on these issues to change attitudes and address the root causes of biodiversity loss, which endangers growth, livelihoods, and human health.
“At least when you call them out, we can also have a collective and unified front as we advocate for the change that we all want in the environmental space. Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the environmental space cannot do all of this work alone, therefore we need the media to amplify all of these too,” she said.
She however disclosed that some banks that her outfit engaged had taken the initiative to develop sustainable decks inside their organisation and were using measures in that regard, which is worth imitating.
The Banks and Biodiversity No Go Policy is an active campaign plan of Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) in partnership with Friends of the Earth (FoE) US.
The policy championing the course to conserve biodiversity has eight targeted points that clearly state areas that banks can consider investing in and areas they are not laudable to invest in due to its dire consequences.