COMBO works with stakeholders to put in place the systems and guidance necessary for the long-term finance and management of offsets. Ensuring sufficient financing is imperative and without appropriate, adequate, and long-term finance, the additional biodiversity conservation required by offsets would fail to materialize and the goal of reaching conservation objectives that are equal to or of greater priority than what has been impacted and align with national biodiversity targets, would never materialize. COMBO works with governments and other stakeholders toward achieving the following results:
- Offsets are funded for as long as the impacts are present or preferably in perpetuity;
- Offsets are paid either in full, or in agreed upon instalments at the time of licensing and the funds put into a Trust Fund or other special account; where full payment is not made, financial guarantees are provided; The project developer either implements the offset directly or contracts a third party to implement the offset.
COMBO partners with Conservation Trust Funds where they exist to develop appropriate mechanisms for implementation. In Mozambique, BIOFUND has contributed significantly to designing the road map for offset implementation and is identified as a recipient of offset funding, with responsibility for supporting third party offset implementation. The Madagascar Biodiversity and Protected Area Fund (FAPBM) currently manages voluntary offset financing and will take on greater offset financing once new legislation, developed through COMBO program efforts, is in place. There are opportunities to work with other national conservation trust fund on offsets financing and implementation.
The existence of offset policy and the greater levels of information on biodiversity in COMBO countries offer an opportunity to aggregate offsets in areas of importance for conservation. In many COMBO countries, that aggregation will occur in existing protected areas, newly established areas and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). Many of these areas exist on paper but have little to no funding, allowing offset funding to be additional. Offset financing will also provide benefits to local communities who depend on natural resources for their livelihoods. The provision of performance payments and utilization of easements can make conservation a viable economic alternative for communities.
As part of the implementation program, COMBO works with the national regulator to establish monitoring protocols and systems, such as a register of offset programs and sites, to ensure that conservation targets and objectives are being met. Given the long-term nature of offset financing, management will need to be adaptive to meet new and emerging challenges to biodiversity in those countries where COMBO works.