Latin American Ministers examine the contribution of biodiversity to the Sustainable Development Goals at the HLPF in New York

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New York — Sound ecosystem and biodiversity management is essential for sustainable development and crucial in achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) said experts on the sidelines of the High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in New York.

Tarsicio Granizo, Ecuador’s Minister of Environment, highlighted that his country is one of the world’s mega diverse countries and part of their constitution recognises environmental rights.

"We have to stop rhetoric and make conservation a reality. Nature has rights and should be respected," he said.

Ecuador is unique in developing an inter-ministerial environment strategy, clearly stipulating the role of each government organisation in environmental management.

Investment in nature is a cornerstone in the transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies and Latin America is leading the way to develop strategies and moving towards sustainable and greener economies across the continent.

Marcela Cubillos, Chile's Minister of Environment said Chile has made a choice – a choice for strong institutions and where the environment is a national statement – it is a distinctive mark.

"New generations in Chile are shifting to push environmental efforts out of the area of conflict and ideological division towards the logic of unity and consensus," she said.

SDGs 14 ‘Life under the Sea’ and 15 ‘Life on Land’ play a particularly important role for biodiversity finance. In addition, biodiversity and natural capital also contribute to climate change action, food security, health, water, energy, poverty reduction and gender equality goals.

"There is increasing recognition of the transcendental nature of the SDGs and environment," said José Agusto Briones, National Secretary for Development Planning, Ecuador.

Working beyond the Ministry of Environment is a key issue and central to UNDP's Biodiversity Finance Initiative’s (BIOFIN) approach in not only bringing the Ministries of Finance into the fold but making them central to the process and efforts to mobilise resources for biodiversity conservation.

BIOFIN is working on finance solutions in 35 countries and supports nationally appropriate strategies to help countries achieve their biodiversity conservations targets.