VIDEO: Oscar Villagran, BIOFIN Coordinator, Guatemala

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Proponents of biodiversity finance gathered in January to discuss lessons and progress from Latin American and the Caribbean in assessing and implementing better ways to manage and conserve biodiversity. 

The workshop saw UNDP/BIOFIN teams and Ministries of Finance and Environment officials from Mexico, Cuba, Costa Rica, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Chile and Guatemala – where the workshop took place, join and open dialogues about the challenges and successes each country faces in attaining quality finance solutions for biodiversity management.

"Biodiversity is our water, our air quality, our forests. I believe that since the world is experiencing a process of climate change efforts should be made to help biodiversity otherwise we will suffer the consequences in the future. Water pollution, deforestation, carbon emissions - we don't need all of this to happen," said Oscar Villagran, BIOFIN's Coordinator in Guatemala, in the video above.

Guatemala is a leader in implementing the comprehensive BIOFIN methodology and is gaining traction with several solutions including engaging the private sector in a bid to harness finances for conservation projects through a viable sailfish sports fishing industry, and better delivering tariffs raised through land use in protected areas.

It's believed the sports fishing industry could represent an increase of up to 25% of total income from tourism, with adequate development of infrastructure required for recreational sports fishing.

These funds would be valuable in future conservation efforts for the mega-diverse country, which relies heavily on its marine and coastal resources.

"So the message to the world is that the efforts we make in biodiversity conservation will maintain our quality of life in the future and I think it can be something where we can all contribute bit by bit," said Oscar Villagran.