As the ANFF rallies policy makers from the continents to action…

The Africa Nature Finance Forum has called on policymakers and experts across Africa to urgently increase funding to protect global biodiversity. HELEN OJI Reports.

The Africa Nature Finance Forum, which recently held its meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, has charged leaders and policy makers on the continent with the need to increase funding to protect Africa’s biodiversity which has entered crisis mode .

To address this crisis, governments, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), environmental organizations and businesses are working to develop a new framework that will guide biodiversity conservation over the next decade. . This is called the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

This global agreement will be finalized at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to be held in Montreal, Canada, in December 2022. However, without sufficient funding, the resolution of the biodiversity crisis will not be possible, and this critical global agreement may be elusive. Organized by the governments of Nigeria and Gabon, the Africa Nature Finance Forum discussed how Africa can build on its historical and cultural traditions of ecosystem and biodiversity protection, support biodiversity finance and mobilize increased funding from donor countries around the world.

Innovative and sustainable finance

According to Gabon’s Minister of Water, Forests, Sea and Environment, Lee White, by 2100, Africa risks losing half of its bird and animal species, 20 to 30% of the productivity of the lakes of the continents and significant quantities of our plant. species.

He added that without strong action, it would create instability and security problems across the African continent. One of the key elements is the mobilization of predictable and sustainable resources. This is why we must think about innovative and sustainable finance for nature.

“The natural world is disappearing at an unprecedented rate. One million plant and animal species are now threatened with extinction, many of them within decades, and 60% of terrestrial wild animal populations have disappeared in the last 50 years. Rainforests around the world are being cleared at the rate of four football pitches per minute,” he said.

Nigerian Environment Minister Mohammed H. Abdullahi said, “Today only 15% of the world’s land mass and 7% of the oceans are protected. So far, African nations have created more than 2 million square kilometers of protected areas, demonstrating our shared commitment to preserving Africa’s rich biodiversity, but we need to do more together and protect at least 30 % of the world’s land and sea. by 2030.”

“Leaders at the event called on world leaders to support and commit to the African proposal that all nations commit 1% of GDP to closing the biodiversity finance gap and protecting the future of our planet.

“The global biodiversity funding gap stands at $700 billion: committing 1% of global GDP would generate $850 billion. And the great thing about the 1% proposition is that it’s Africa’s idea. This shows Africa’s initiative and financial leadership,” Minister Abdullahi said.

Protect biodiversity

The CBD National Focal Point for the Federal Department of Forestry, Federal Ministry of Environment CBD, Nigeria, Sikeade Egbuwalo, added that “We are not begging you to give us money to protect our biodiversity, we commit 1% of our GDP, you should also do the same in your countries, as well as the ODA that flows to developing countries.

“Given that 70-90% of the cost of protecting or conserving at least 30% of the earth’s land and oceans by 2030 (a proposal known as 30×30) would fall so disproportionately to low- and middle-income countries, the countries with the greatest wealth of remaining biodiversity, despite exploitation by high-income countries to fuel their development.

He added that the Forum highlighted the need for high-income countries, development banks, philanthropists and the private sector to dramatically increase financial support to expand and improve protected area management in Africa and beyond. .

“Indigenous peoples’ rights must be protected within the global biodiversity framework, including in terms of funding, and they must be at the center of resource mobilization,” he said.

The Director of the Policy Analysis Division of the African Natural Resources Center (ANRC) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Co-Chair of the NC4-ADF program, Dr. Vanessa Ushie, highlighted the contributions of the AfDB to the protection of the continent’s unique biodiversity and wildlife. “In 2020, for example, bank approvals for climate finance, attributed to adaptation and mitigation, amounted to $1.93 billion.”

Increased financial investment must also be coupled with better models for valuing ecosystem services, reduced harmful subsidies and more sustainable management of natural resources. us that no amount of direct investment in the planet and nature will ever be enough if the rest of the money continues to flow in the opposite direction, so we must work to align how existing money is spent” , “Right now, it is estimated that for every US dollar of taxpayer money that is actively helping nature recover, we are spending at least US$4 in a way that degrades nature, and that clearly cannot continue. “, he added.

The Development and Implementation speakers also highlighted the critical role that Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs) play in biodiversity conservation, as the best stewards of nature, and the need to ensure they are full partners in the development and implementation of the entire post-2020 GBF. “Everything we want to achieve depends on reconciling our lives and economies with the natural world around us,” he explained. “And incidentally, it’s something that indigenous peoples around the world have been trying to get across to us for decades, and they’ve been largely ignored. Ambassador for the Environment at the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, Sylvie Lemmet, in her remarks noted the optimism, underscoring Africa’s ability to act to preserve its natural environment and reverse the loss of biodiversity. I am convinced that another path of development is possible for the world and for Africa,” she said. “Many opportunities are emerging on the African continent that could make the preservation of biodiversity an asset for its development and generate significant resources and sources of income in the years to come. Former Ethiopian Prime Minister co-author of Conservation Continent, Sylvie Lemmet, called on African governments to continue to stand up for nature. “Some of our species have already disappeared, our forests have been destroyed, our waterways have dried up. It’s an existential question now, not just a choice.