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Partnerships are key to protecting the continent’s wildlife: African Development Bank joins international community to commemorate World Wildlife Day


The African Development Bank Group joined the international community to commemorate World Wildlife Day on March 3, 2018. On the occasion, we spoke with Anthony Nyong, the Bank’s Director of Climate Change and Green Growth, on what the African Development Bank is doing to protect one of the continent’s most precious resources: its wildlife.

Our institution and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have partnered since 2011 on issues such as climate adaptation, mitigation, biodiversity and ecosystems. In what way has the African Development Bank concretely benefited from this partnership?

Combating illegal wildlife trafficking is important to the African Development Bank. Illegal wildlife trafficking undermines legal trade, deprives many governments of revenues and taxes and threatens national and regional stabilities. The degree and extent of violence perpetrated by the criminal networks that run the trade threatens peace and the rule of law and undermines Africa’s potential for development. In many African countries wildlife tourism plays a very important role in local and national economies and a decline in wildlife numbers threatens not only the livelihoods of vulnerable communities who are dependent on this sector but also the sustainability of national economies.

Wildlife trafficking impedes efforts by African governments to halt other illicit trades, such as arms and drugs. It fuels organized crime, corruption, undermines the rule of law and compromises regional security. The African Development Bank calls for global support to end this criminal menace not just in Africa but all over the world.

The threat that illicit wildlife trafficking posed to the development achievements that Africa has made in the last few decades, led the African Development Bank in partnership with WWF to organize a high-level side event at its Annual Meetings in 2013. The event brought together key players – including professional organizations and policy-makers – to adopt the Marrakech Declaration that supports actions to build a global consensus on and strengthen wildlife protection; penalize wildlife crime to the full extent of the law; and curb demand.

Recently, the African Development Bank has partnered with WWF and other institutions to develop and launch the Africa Hub to support African countries to successfully implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement. The implementation of these NDCs is critical in ensuring that the African continent joins the rest of the world on a low-carbon and climate-resilient development trajectory.

The African Development Bank and WWF have benefitted from this partnership as the Bank has been able to access WWF’s networks to draw global attention to Africa’s issues. Overall, the partnership with WWF is a proof that the African Development Bank appreciates the value that non-governmental organizations bring to the table and that the Bank is committed to working with these organizations to achieve common goals.

Read the full Marrakech Declaration.

The Bank’s work is intimately linked to management of natural resources, such as forests, building resilience and adaptation to climate change impacts, as well as how to help value and protect Africa’s incomparable natural and biodiversity heritage. What are the major achievements within the framework of this partnership?

The African Development Bank’s partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature has specifically placed environmental protection and climate change as critical elements for sustainable development in Africa. In 2012, the African Development Bank and WWF produced the Africa Ecological Footprint Report that drew attention to the rapidly declining stock of Africa’s natural resources. This was a wakeup call to Africa’s leadership to adopt a more sustainable growth pathway. That report contributed immensely to the development of the African Development Bank’s Ten Year Strategy with its twin objectives of inclusive and green growth.

Not satisfied with just presenting the state of Africa’s ecological footprint, the two organizations got together in 2015 to produce the Africa Ecological Futures Report that provided a roadmap to how Africa can sustainably harness its ecological resources to achieve sustainable development. The African Development Bank and WWF are currently working together to develop the second phase of the Africa’s Ecological Future Report this year.

The African Development Bank has also partnered with WWF to address issues of sustainability in the implementation of our projects through the China-Africa Environmental Sustainability Program where Chinese investors and contractors have adopted the African Development Bank’s safeguards policies to guide their operation in Africa. The success of this program has fueled the development of similar initiatives in other regions

Download the Africa Ecological Footprint Report.

Download the Africa Ecological Futures Report.

Climate change and poaching are among the most alarming challenges faced by Africa’s wildlife today. How does the Bank work with African governments to fight poaching and trafficking of wildlife, currently the most immediate threat to many species?

The African Development Bank’s Integrated Safeguard System adopted in 2013 gives a special attention to the major threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services, including natural habitat loss, the capturing of wild animals and wildlife poaching. To complement the Bank’s Integrated Safeguards System (ISS), the Bank has also developed a comprehensive Climate Safeguards System (CSS) that provides the Bank with decision-making tools to screen all its projects for climate risks and provide recommendations for adaptation measures to be included into each project.

Through this process, the African Development Bank ensures that all its forestry projects contribute to wildlife protection, through a well-thought management plan that takes into consideration the principles of Sustainable Forest Management. The African Development Bank identifies Sustainable Forest Management as an integrated framework which can be used to assist with both adaptation and mitigation in the Forestry Sector, particularly in addressing wildlife poaching and trafficking, as well as animal pests and diseases.

The Bank has created awareness and sensitized African leaders on the dangers of poaching, and has provided resources to strengthen wildlife protection in some African countries.

For more information on the Bank’s Safeguards and Sustainability guidelines, visit: http://bit.ly/2H2K1v8

To what extent has the Bank’s partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature helped to transition Africa towards green, eco-friendly, economic growth?

The African Development Bank’s investments aim at supporting Africa’s transition to green growth. WWF has provided substantial support in this aspect. For instance, WWF and the Bank jointly supported the development of Mozambique’s green economy strategy that is poised to set the country as a leader in the transition to a green economy.

The African Development Bank and WWF have jointly organized several capacity-building programs for the Bank’s regional member countries on the opportunities and pathways for a green economy. In partnership with WWF, the African Development Bank is developing knowledge products that inform the transition of African countries to green growth.

Green growth is a cross-cutting issue within the Bank. The recent establishment of the Climate Change and Green Growth Directorate constitutes an important step towards scaling up Africa’s transition to green growth. The Climate Change and Green Growth Department is working internally with other relevant departments and with external partners such WWF to promote actions towards achieving green growth in Africa, including biodiversity protection. The Bank is strengthening its partnership with WWF, with the view to ensuring that Africa takes full advantage of its huge natural capital to develop in a more sustainably way.

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