African Union Seeks Billions of Dollars in Funding to Conserve Biodiversity

The African Union (AU) has called on world leaders to channel billions of dollars into a Global Biodiversity Fund (GBF) to improve biodiversity conservation in Africa and other developing countries.

Africa and other developing countries call on developed countries to commit at least $100 billion a year initially, rising to $700 billion a year by 2030 and beyond, to help emerging countries to implement a coherent biodiversity protection strategy.

Africa’s rich biodiversity faces imminent risk unless a fund is established to improve its conservation, said Nigerian Sikemi Egbuwalo, who spoke on behalf of Africa at the recent conference. of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) held in Geneva, Switzerland. .

Egbuwalo, a representative from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment who serves as the country’s focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), said the 55 AU member states and other developing countries welcome favorably the idea of ​​a new financing mechanism to respond to global biodiversity. goals.

The funding would support domestic resource mobilization and leverage private sector financing, she said. “Since the adoption of the Convention, the world has developed new financing tools to enhance public and private financing, such as blended finance, credit enhancement mechanisms, green banks and green bonds, as well as emerging practices in nature risk disclosure and public funding. supported risk reduction tools to leverage private sector financing,” noted Egbuwalo.

“We have seen the emergence of new public and public-private instruments like the Green Climate Fund and the Land Degradation Neutrality Fund,” she added.

Supporting the call, Daniel Mukubi from the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), reiterated the importance of a dedicated funding mechanism for biodiversity conservation to address climate change. climate change and avoid further loss of biodiversity.

Biodiversity conservation is currently funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) fund, which is neither sustainable nor effective because the GEF also funds other Convention projects and does not deal exclusively with biodiversity conservation, he said.

“The funding currently available is [from] the GEF and it is unable to address all biodiversity conservation issues,” he said. “The GBF is dedicated to elevating our conservation ambitions. This is why developing countries are asking for the possibility of proposing an alternative financing mechanism that will be more accessible, simple and will strengthen our capacities to conserve our biodiversity.

He noted that in Africa and other developing countries, “indigenous peoples and local communities are working hard to retain their traditional knowledge. Efforts to conserve allow us to have very important areas for biodiversity and our well-being.

Mukubi anticipated that dedicated funding would come from existing mechanisms and incentives from governments and other donors, digital sequence information (DSI) on genetic resources, benefit-sharing mechanisms and other sources.

“Some donors have announced that they will be able to make efforts,” he said. “For example, China in the Kunming Declaration announced that it would be able to put 40 million dollars on the table. I think we are in the process of negotiating so that other developed countries have other simple and operational mechanisms that we can discuss to make this fund effective.

Shedding more light on how the fund will be deployed, Mukubi called for the formation of committees to access country-by-country needs, with a view to identifying their unique conservation needs.

“All we’re trying to do is make sure that by 2030 countries can conserve 30% of the Earth and 30% of the seas,” he said. “We believe that we may be able to come up with a mechanism that will identify for each country what the needs are [for] biodiversity conservation, such as initiatives by indigenous peoples and local communities.

Kasse Ousseynou, Executive Director and Director General of Senegal’s National Biosafety Authority, stressed the importance of increasing funding for biodiversity conservation, saying there can be no safe planet or hospitable climate. if biodiversity is not conserved.

“A dedicated biodiversity fund is needed,” he said. “If we don’t take care of biodiversity, how can we have a good climate? We need synergies, different financing mechanisms. But if we don’t write those goals down clearly, in the end, we won’t have anything to show for it. That is why the African Group has said that we commend Nigeria, as a leader in this area, for speaking on behalf of the 55 AU Member States.

Image: An ostrich walks past a diverse group of animals congregating at a waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia. Photo: Shutterstock/Toni Aules


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