GEF Early Action Support Webinar Series – Webinar #7: Biodiversity Finance: Exploring public and private finance opportunities for NSBAPs

This webinar is aimed at supporting CBD Parties to better understand the possible application of public and private finance to their NBSAP revision and update and implementation.


 Languages: English, French, Spanish, Russian
Date: 5 December 2023
Sessions: 1 session
Commitment: 90 min

Meet the speakers Access the Early Action Support Project PageQ&A


The ambitious targets Kunming-Montreal  Global  Biodiversity  Framework (GBF) aim to create a system where businesses, the finance sector, and governments align financial flows to achieve a nature-positive future.  This webinar is aimed at supporting CBD Parties to better understand the possible application of public and private finance to their NBSAP revision and update. During this webinar, the United Nations Development Programme Biodiversity Finance Initiative (UNDP BIOFIN) and United Nations Environment Programme  Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). BIOFIN and UNEP FI will provide an overview of the partnership and its goals, will introduce the recently released briefing note, and will gather information from the audience about which topics they would like to learn more about and what they would like to gain from this partnership. BIOFIN countries will share practical applications of the work, and UNEP FI will showcase examples with representation from the private sector. A  facilitated question and answer session will follow.

We are also excited to share that UNDP BIOFIN and UNEP FI aim to strengthen support for countries via a Public-Private Community of Practice for Nature and Development Finance. This partnership will engage public and private actors to share thought-leadership and best practices on emerging topics and challenges related to biodiversity finance, including debt sustainability, debt for nature conversions, the biodiversity credit markets, nature-based solutions, the voluntary carbon market, sustainability-linked bonds and loans, and impact finance.They have also released a briefing note on how Parties can use the NBSAP review and update period to successfully engage public and private finance simultaneously. This will help prepare financial institutions to play their role in contributing to the goals and targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework in their respective countries.

Webinar objectives

This webinar: 

  • Provide an overview of BIOFIN and UNEP FI  partnership, Public-Private Community of Practice for Nature and Development Finance.
  • Present examples of BIOFIN and UNEP FI country experiences, including successes and challenges Launch joint UNEP FI and BIOFIN UNDP briefing note for countries: Engaging private finance in the NBSAP review and financial planning: Sign-posts for policy-makers.
  • Gather information needs from countries to further support EAS Project work on component 4.


The webinar will be offered in English with interpretation in French, Spanish, and Russian. Webinar recordings will be available in the Course Content section on this page. 

Webinar agenda

Length of the presentation  Presentation Presenter
5 min Welcome and Logistics Eva Bortolotti (UNDP Nature Hub)
10 min Overview of UNDP BIOFIN and introduction to the partnership Onno Van den Heuvel (UNDP BIOFIN)
10 min Overview of UNEP FI and importance of the partnership Jessica Smith (UNEP FI)
5 min Menti Poll Eva Bortolotti (UNDP Nature Hub)
10 min Sharing from a country on experience working with FIs: Project example, successes, failures, challenges, gaps Alonso Martínez (UNDP BIOFIN)
10 min Sharing from an FI on experience working with countries: Project example, successes, failures, challenges, gaps Beth Rivett-Carnac (Rand Merchant Bank)
10 min Sharing from a fintech platform experience working with countries: Project example, successes, failures, challenges, gaps GCash
30 min Q&A Eva Bortolotti (UNDP Nature Hub)
5 min Closing Eva Bortolotti (UNDP Nature Hub)


For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Alexis Legigand at

Not Enrolled
Stand-alone webinar

Course Includes

  • 2 Modules
  • 8 Activities

Meet the presenters for webinar session #7

Onno van den Heuvel, BIOFIN Global Manager

Onno is the Global Manager for BIOFIN – based at UNDP’s Istanbul Regional Hub. He leads the BIOFIN team, responsible for all global and national activities, programme development, resource mobilization and partnerships. His prior work includes a 4 year tenure as UNDP’s Biodiversity Programme Officer/Environment Team leader in Mongolia, responsible for protected area finance, community based conservation and environmental governance. He also worked in Mongolia as a policy expert for the establishment of a Clean Air Fund and for 4 years in Kenya at UN-HABITAT’s Regional Office for Africa and Arab States. Onno holds a Masters Degree in Economic Geography from the University of Utrecht.

Jessica Smith, Nature Lead UNEP-FI

Jessica Smith (BES, MA, MCom) leads the Nature workstream at the UNEP Finance Initiative since 2020, promoting leadership in sustainable finance across banking, insurance, and investment. For the previous 7 years she directed a consultancy firm undertaking environmental finance project development and evaluation, and leading secretariats for the Equator Principles Association (environmental and social risk in Project Finance for 100+ financial institutions) and the Cross-Sector Biodiversity Initiative (applying IFC performance standard 6 on biodiversity in oil & gas, mining, and finance). Prior to this Jessica worked for UNEP-WCMC, IUCN, and UNDP, mobilising pro-poor environment and development finance, globally and especially across Africa. Jessica aims to bridge research and practice on nature finance and was recently lead author of the first academic publication linking conservation finance, blended finance, and community-led conservation [available here].

Beth Rivett-Carnac, Sustainable Finance Transactor, Rand Merchant Bank

Beth Rivett-Carnac is a Sustainable Finance Transactor at Rand Merchant Bank. She has extensive experience in investment banking, from corporate advisory and M&A to strategy and executive support. Since joining the Sustainable Finance team, Beth has executed several sustainable finance transactions, including Namibia’s largest green bond for FNB Namibia, Africa’s first gender-linked bond for Barloworld, and the first sustainability-linked bond for a National Development Bank globally for the Development Bank of Rwanda. Beth’s primary focus is on integrating sustainability into RMB’s broader Africa and advisory businesses, as well as innovative solutions (including blended finance) for natural capital and social impact.

Alonso Martínez, UNDP BIOFIN National Coordinator, Mexico

Alonso has collaborated for more than five years in UNDP BIOFIN, where he currently acts as National Coordinator. He has a degree in Economics from Tecnológico de Monterrey, a Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Economics from México’s National University, and a master’s in Economics and Environmental and Energy Policy from University College London. He began his career at CONANP, contributing to estimating the financial gap of protected areas and developing economic valuation of ecosystem services. During his career, he has contributed to integrating the economic and financial approach into public policies for the conservation of biodiversity.

CJ ALEGRE, Head of Sustainability, GCash

CJ Alegre is the Sustainability Head of GCash, the number one mobile wallet in the Philippines, he oversees various programs focused on the environment, social impact, diversity, equality, and inclusion. With ten years of experience in the tech industry from Globe and Mynt, CJ has a proven track record of driving innovation and transformation. He led the Fiber City project at Globe, bringing fast and affordable internet access to communities nationwide and earning recognition as Globe’s Employee of the Year in 2018. At GCash, he has been leading the transformation of the GForest feature, a climate tech solution within GCash. Under his leadership, GForest has grown exponentially, covering more than 5000 hectares with nationwide planting and helping over 25,000 farmers in different critical areas in the Philippines.

Meet the hosts for webinar session #6

Eva Bortolotti, Programme Analyst, Nature Hub

Eva Bortolotti currently leads the UNDP Nature Hub work to enable private finance to accelerate the successful implementation of the Global Biodiversity Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In her global role, she supports a range of projects related to nature finance and private sector engagement, among which the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), BIOFIN, the Global Fund for Coral Reef (GFCR), and other innovative financing instruments for nature. In her past roles at UNDP, shealso supported the strategic positioning of the SDG Finance offer of the UNDP Sustainable Finance Hub in Geneva. Before joining UNDP, she worked as a consultant for different UN agencies and research centers, including UNRISD, the UN Secretariat, and the Centre for International Environmental Studies in Geneva, producing qualitative and quantitative research on sustainable development, social and environmental policy, and sustainable finance.