Groundwater resources are important sources of drinking water in Africa, and they are extremely important in sustaining livelihoods and supporting a diverse range of agricultural and commercial activities. Groundwater has a significant role in improving people’s health in sub-Saharan Africa.
On this International Women’s Day (IWD) and every day, the members of ABCG join our colleagues and friends in applauding and lauding the critical role women play in climate change mitigation, land, and natural resource management and universally to their contributions to sustainable development and society in general.
As ABCG evolves into an African-led platform, Ruby will play an essential role in expanding ABCG’s resource portfolios, and building and managing cross-sector partnerships. She infuses new energy and fresh perspectives to the collaborative ABCG effort as we mobilize to design ABCG’s unique approach to mainstreaming biodiversity into Africa’s economic development in 2022.
We strongly believe that the UN Climate Change Conference and subsequent meetings are necessary and worthwhile to helping achieve some of ABCG’s biggest objectives, including mainstreaming biodiversity considerations into economic development at the community level in African countries, reaching women and youth. We are particularly encouraged by private sector commitments, as well as climate financing, pledged to advance the roles and rights of indigenous peoples and local communities.
Across sub-Saharan Africa, millions of people lack access to clean water and sanitation. ABCG and multisectoral partners strive to reduce watershed degradation and pollution which is designed to conserve freshwater ecosystems and improve efficient use of dwindling water resources due to climate change. The aim is to increase access to clean water and improved human health.
Theory of change (TOC) of integrating family planning with biodiversity conservation is aimed in building a resilience of families, with the assumption that when people access to family planning will help them improve access to food security, improved livelihood by providing linkages to livelihood intensities, and provide better education to their children
Land use planning is fundamental for steering new solutions and progresses towards achieving a sustainable society, given that several social and environmental issues have been brought on by climate change, population growth and urbanization in the past decades in Africa.
Recognizing Africa’s rapid development and growing need for LUP, ABCG created and rolled out a LUP course to build the capacity and enable key stakeholders and governments to apply land-use planning.
In a region where healthy grass means everything, the encroachment of sickle bush has been an unwelcome new challenge. For years, community members have been looking for a solution. Uprooting would take a lot of work, and no one could afford to divert time and energy from income-generating activities to try an untested solution.
Africa Biodiversity collaborative group and member, The Nature Conservation, with funding from USAID—launched a pilot project to control the spread of sickle bush that was dominating about 75 percent of grazing land in Selela and Lemooti villages, and over 18,500 acres in Randilen Wildlife Management Area.
Held once every four years, the recently concluded IUCN World Conservation Congress that was held in Marseille, France, and online, on September 3-11, 2011, brought together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.
Floods, climate change, fires, alarming loss of biodiversity, are some of the complex global challenges that humanity needs to work together to solve. In an increasing interdependent world, these challenges call for greater cooperation among various actors, and innovative solutions to address them. The Congress provided a platform for diverse stakeholders to come together and discuss ways to tackle these pressing and urgent global challenges.
With an urgent call for everyone to get to work and protect our planet, actor and environmental activist, Harrison Ford speaking at the Congress opening ceremony said that, “as inhabitants of this planet, we all need to work together to protect our planet. We have to get to work and make things happens”.
The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) organized a number of events on, land use planning, climate change, integrating freshwater conservation and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and Population, Health and Environment. The sessions shared lessons and best practices by ABCG, a coalition of seven international conservation non-governmental organizations working in Africa that include: the African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, the Jane Goodall Institute, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, World Resources Institute, and World Wildlife Fund.
ABCG shared how this community of practitioners, together with other local partners is jointly addressing complex conservation challenges, by sharing examples of on the ground interventions, and offering practical tools that they have developed to enhance conservation.
ABCG events included:
- Engaging Stakeholders to Mainstream Land Use Planning in Africa for Sustainable Development
- Water for People & Nature: Lessons from Integrating Freshwater Conservation and WASH in Africa
- Competing Needs – how we address both conservation and health needs throughout the African landscape
- Helping people and nature adapt to a changing climate
The congress set the nature conservation agenda for the next decade and beyond and had a strong focus on post-COVID recovery, the biodiversity and climate crises, and on the role and rights of indigenous peoples in conservation.
The World Population Data Sheet 2021 reports that Africa’s population is rapidly growing. The report further reveals that Africa has the highest fertility rate at 4.3% and the highest projected population growth rate of any region worldwide. All of the world’s countries with fertility rates of over 5 children per woman are in Africa.
Speaking at a recent webinar by the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) on Population, Health and Environment (PHE) approaches and benefits for conservation on August 19, 2021, Tess McLoud, Policy Advisor for the People, Health, Planet program at Population Reference Bureau gave a presentation on population dynamics in Africa and the implications for PHE. The webinar featured panelists from ABCG members World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Conservation International, and partner Population Reference Bureau.
The panel discussion focused on the benefits of Population, Health and Environment (PHE) approaches for Africa’s biodiversity conservation. Discussions were centred around population dynamics and environment in Africa and their implications for PHE, World Population Data Sheet 2021 highlights, ABCG PHE lessons learned from the ABCG PHE project in Southeast Cameroon and ABCG PHE insights on the benefits for conservation.
Tess McLoud, Policy Advisor for the People, Health, Planet program at Population Reference Bureau (PRB) gave a presentation on population dynamics in Africa and their implications for PHE and PRB 2021 world Population Data Sheet highlights, focusing on the trends and implications for sustainable development and PHE in Africa.
Tess stated that Africa has a population of about 1.4 billion which is 18% of the world population. Nigeria has the largest population in Africa of at least 211 million. She further stated that 42 % of sub- Saharan population is under 15 years and the youngest of any sub-region, and 43 % of Africans live in urban areas. She highlighted that Africa has the highest fertility rate of 4.3, with the highest projected population growth rate of more than 60% of the global population from 1.4 billion in 2021 to a projection of around 2.5 billion in 2050. Understanding demographic trends and their drivers help us inform policy and programs to improve health, reduce poverty, build gender equity, and foster a sustainable relationship with the environment.
Romanaus Ikfuingei, Programme Manager WWF Lobeke National Park in Cameroon shared about ABCG PHE project lessons learnt in Cameroon. He highlighted the main activities they are implementing, challenges, solutions, lessons learnt and opportunities for future PHE interventions. He also gave an insight into the purpose of the PHE project in Lobeke National Park. Which was to inform organizations seeking to improve the ecosystem, health and conservation outcomes along with improved human well-being, for people living in and around areas of key biodiversity areas. The project sought to recognize and respect local knowledge of both women, men and most marginalized groups who depend on natural resources for survival.
“PHE approaches have offered an entry point for addressing community needs in a holistic manner, enabling positive conservation behavior change,” said Janet Edmond, the Senior Director for Inclusive Partnerships at Conservation International and the lead for the ABCG PHE working group.
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