Africa’s prosperity depends on preserving its vast natural wealth, yet the continent’s natural capital stocks are dwindling rapidly, concludes a new report released Tuesday August 24 by the German government.
The report, one of the most comprehensive assessments to date of the strong links between Africa’s development and nature protection, is the latest study to lay out evidence that economic recovery and nature protection are closely intertwined. It emphasizes that investing in nature is a critical development strategy, with benefits that are 8-9 times the costs.
Written by a team of researchers from Germany, Morocco, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar and Côte d’Ivoire, the study shows that the continent’s most important economic sectors–including agriculture, fishing, tourism and hydropower–will thrive if nature is protected. The study also points to the critical role nature plays in building resilience against the impacts of climate change, including natural hazards and disasters.
The report embraces human rights and social justice as foundational principles to conservation, and calls for the participation and inclusion of local and Indigenous communities. It argues that nature conservation can only succeed in partnership with those living directly with, and relying on, nature.
The study comes on the heels of an announcement that the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) will be delayed again due to the coronavirus pandemic. The biodiversity summit, where 196 countries will agree on an action plan for ending the nature crisis, is now scheduled to take place in two parts: virtually 11-15 October 2021 and in person in Kunming, China on April 25-May 8, 2022.
Eighteen African nations number among the 65 members of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, a coalition of countries led by Costa Rica, France and the United Kingdom seeking to protect 30% of the earth by 2030. The HAC is driving forward with ambitious plans to combat the interlinked biodiversity and climate crises in the leadup to the delayed COP15.
Earlier this year, as part of this global nature protection push, a coalition of public and private donors launched the Legacy Landscapes Fund, which aims to provide lasting, reliable core funding for at least 30 key protected areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Brian O’Donnell, Director of the Campaign for Nature, said: “This study confirms for Africa what other recent studies have shown for the global economy: protecting nature is a wise investment that generates benefits to economies and local communities that far exceed the costs. Now is the time for action, including protecting at least 30% of the planet by 2030 and mobilizing the financial resources for effective implementation.
With this report and its financial support for international conservation, Germany is helping to lead the way. It’s well past time for high-income countries to step up and help make the investments in nature that Africa and other lower-income regions need. For their sake and for all our sakes.”