NAIROBI, KENYA (September 28, 2021.) The Africa Protected Areas Congress Secretariat welcomes and applauds the announcement by nine organizations, through the ‘Protecting Our Planet Challenge’ that have pledged $US 5 billion over the next 10 years to support the creation, expansion, management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea, working with Indigenous Peoples, local communities, civil society and governments.
“This announcement comes at an opportune time. Africa has a third of the world’s biodiversity and this means that Africa is critical to safeguarding ecosystem services and benefits to humanity and offers a global good. Global experts estimate that it will take between $762 billion and $900 billion annually to finance global biodiversity needs. Clearly, current commitments to global biodiversity fall short of what is required, especially in Africa, but these commitments are a great step in the right direction.” Kaddu Sebunya, CEO African Wildlife Foundation emphasizes.
Philanthropic commitments such as the Legacy Landscapes Fund (LLF), LEAF Coalition, the Rimba Collective developed by Lestari Capital, and the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge that is being driven by 78 financial institutions. They are set to amplify conservation efforts, accelerate climate action, and improve livelihoods as the world builds back better. Like these pledges, the APAC steering organizations (The Government of Rwanda, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas and the African Wildlife Foundation) are in the process of creating A Pan-African Conservation Trust (A-PACT). This would provide an independent sustainable financing mechanism for Africa’s 8552 protected and conserved areas (P&CAs), supported by an aligned African leadership and financed through global resource mobilization for ‘green growth’ COVID recovery.
‘’African nations shall now more than ever be focused on green economic development, and we are witnessing tremendous initiatives for green economic growth across various African countries. However, the increasing demand for clean air, food, water and sources of energy are pushing natural systems to their limits. The COVID-19 pandemic’s resultant effects on nature, losses of tourism revenues combined with reductions in government financial allocations as there is a drastic shift in priorities to other sectors of the economy and social safeguards, that has increased deficits in funding and ability to generate finance for green growth. This highlights the fragility of current conservation finance models, hence, the need for concerted efforts for biodiversity conservation.” Rwanda Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya comments.
The significant monetary and non-monetary values of protected and conserved areas and their importance remains poorly understood and greatly undervalued. As a result, protected and conserved areas, in many instances, do not receive adequate financing or resources. Innovative and sustainable solutions are needed to resolve the current biodiversity crisis. As Rwanda prepares to host the inaugural IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC), set for the 7-12 March 2022, key on the agenda is creating a roadmap on how Africa’s Protected and Conserved Areas can be sustainably financed and managed.
“The Africa Protected Areas Congress marks a pivotal moment in Africa’s leap towards biodiversity conservation and acts as an implementation mechanism to address and chart a path that balances economic growth with conservation of Africa’s natural capital. This must be done through strategic choices and investments driven by the best available knowledge and long-term thinking. Success will be contingent on halting and reversing biodiversity loss at national and local levels, for which protected and conserved areas represent a prime mechanism supporting multiple interventions.” Luther Anukur, IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa says.
About The Africa Protected Areas Congress
The IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) is the first ever continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions.
About IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas
IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world’s premier network of protected area expertise, administered by IUCN’s Global Programme on Protected Areas. WCPA works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues.
About African Wildlife Foundation
The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.
For more information visit the APAC website at: https://apacongress.africa/