AfDB strongly committed to preserving ecosystems and wildlife in Africa

30/10/2014
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) participated to the Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP12) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) that took place from October 6-17, 2014 in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea.

During the last Global Environmental Facility (GEF) assembly meeting in Cancun Mexico last May, the CBD Secretariat convened a meeting with the multilateral development banks (MDBs), including the AfDB, to discuss the role of regional development banks in regional cooperation on biodiversity and ecosystem services and explore possibilities for further collaboration. As a major actor in preserving biodiversity in Africa, AfDB decided to participate to this Twelfth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties and has organized a side event titled “Conserving Biodiversity at the African Development Bank”, during which it presented: (i) its interventions and approaches used to fight poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife; (ii) biodiversity mainstreaming in its operations and policies; (iii) its work in developing an increasing GEF portfolio.

The Bank side event included the participation of three other major environmental organizations namely, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and TRAFFIC. The panelists from these organizations elaborated on their partnership with the Bank to protect wildlife and its habitats in Africa. This side event was also attended by participants representing civil society organizations and various institutions in Africa.

Amadou Bamba Diop, Principal Environmental Specialist at AfDB, stressed that “scientists know we must protect species because they are working parts of our life-support system, but in Africa biodiversity has also great economic, aesthetic, and spiritual , and partnership between actors will be key for its protection.”

In addition, the Bank hosted a booth at the Interactive Fair on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development and a kiosk at the Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) Fair during the COP12 meeting. The booths displayed key publications, biodiversity conservation works and echoed significant messages on the Bank’s 50th anniversary as well as its Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022. Both the booth and the kiosk have been visited by over 10,000 visitors including the Governor of the Gangwon Province in Korea, Choi Moonsoon; the Prince of Saudi Arabia, Bandar Bin Saud Bin Mohammad Al-Saud: the Governor of Aichi prefecture in Japan, Hideaki Ohmura; officials from various African and non-African countries; and NGOs. The goal of the exhibition was to: (i) give more visibility to the Bank Group’s mission, strategies and its overall activities; (ii) facilitate access to and share information on the Bank Group’s operations with a broad range of stakeholders; (iii) enable the search for synergies and opportunities for cooperation with other institutions on issues of common interest such biodiversity, climate change; (iv) provide a better understanding on the communication needs through the feedback and questions received especially from visitors from various Asian countries.

Beside the above activities, the Bank team held bilateral discussions with delegates from the following countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Mali, Niger, Guinea and Senegal. These discussions aimed at exploring opportunities for potential biodiversity components in Bank-funded projects.

During the last 15 years, the Bank has developed programs and projects aimed at protecting wildlife by reinforcing the capacity of institutions in charge of managing protected areas and improving livelihoods of communities living around those protected areas. The current massive elephant poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife products have compelled the AfDB to closely work with African countries to halt these crimes. Wildlife trafficking is not just an environmental issue. It fuels organized crime and corruption, and compromises regional security. It breeds violence and now threatens peace and the rule of law as well eroding the revenues that many African countries earn from tourism and over wildlife uses. In May 2013, during the last Annual Meetings in Marrakech, the Bank, in partnership with the WWF, launched the Marrakech Declaration. The Declaration is a joint global call for action and commitment from governments and other institutions to combat illicit wildlife trafficking.