Africa’s conservation drive bags $5b to protect 30pc of land, sea

Tuesday October 12 2021
A member of Mabico

A member of the Marereni Biodiversity Conservancy Community Based Organisation (Mabico) collects garbage along the shoreline in Marereni Beach in Kilifi, Kenya. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG


Africa will get $5 billion over the next 10 years to support the management and monitoring of protected and conserved areas of land, inland water and sea. The money, which will also support work with indigenous people, local communities, civil society and governments, will come from some nine organisations, through the Protecting Our Planet Challenge.

The nine made the announcement at an event convened by the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People (HAC) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, last month.

The Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) this past Wednesday applauded the voluntary commitments from non-state actors to finance biodiversity and protect 30 percent of land and sea by 2030.

Supported by 72 countries, the 30x30 campaign under the Protecting Our Planet Challenge is focused on working with local communities, civil society, and governments to prevent extinctions and bolster resilience to climate change.

The financial pledges include $1 billion from the Bezos Earth Fund, $500 million each from the Wyss Foundation and Rainforest Trust.

The Green Climate Fund, which provides funding to help developing countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments, also announced a commitment of about $9 billion to restore ecosystems while creating jobs.


Additionally, 75 financial institutions have committed to protecting and restoring biodiversity through their finance activities and investments through the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge.

The Protecting Our Planet Challenge is calling for additional private and governmental financial commitments to support 30x30.

“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,” said African Wildlife Foundation CEO, Kaddu Sebunya.

“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.”

He said philanthropic commitments such as the Legacy Landscapes Fund, Leaf Coalition, the Rimba Collective developed by Lestari Capital, and the Finance for Biodiversity Pledge that is being driven by 78 financial institutions, are set to amplify conservation efforts, accelerate climate action, and improve livelihoods.

The APAC steering organisations (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 8,552 protected and conserved areas, supported by an aligned African leadership and financed through global resource mobilisation for ‘green growth’ Covid recovery.

“The increasing demand for clean air, food, water and sources of energy are pushing natural systems to their limits,” said Rwanda Minister of Environment, Dr Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya.

“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,” added the minister.

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.

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.