This virtual event, part of the GEF Technical Discussion Series, introduced the innovative financial product, Wildlife Conservation Bond or “Rhino Bond” that offers a payout linked to the protection of black rhinos, a critically endangered species whose health is essential to the ecosystems in which they live. The bond, which raised $150 million in its March 2022 issuance, will support South Africa’s conservation of black rhinos in two of their strongholds in the country: the Addo Elephant National Park and the Great Fish River Nature Reserve.
Despite growing awareness of the need to protect wildlife for the health of the planet, most investment in nature today comes from the public side – national and subnational governments, international agencies, and development banks. Private sector actors, financial intermediaries, and institutional investors are absent. Large investors and financial institutions have largely avoided this space to date because of its risk/return profile. The business of protecting nature is long term and involves uncertainties that can be unfamiliar to investment managers. On top of it all, there is a perception that investments in nature may not be profitable.
In this event, we heard directly from the issuer (the World Bank), the South African Parks, and the GEF, discussing key aspects of this landmark transaction design and implementation.