Coronavirus, a zoonotic disease, has demonstrated the strong interconnection between ecosystem health and human health. It has demonstrated that no sector can be able to conduct business in a degraded environment, and the need for integration and collaboration among sectors for the health of both people and nature.
Despite these challenges, there are opportunities to shape and define our work to ensure a more resilient ecosystem.
The second series of the Covid-19 and Adaptive leadership webinar, held on October 13, 2020, discussed key practices and integrated solutions for building back better in the midst of a pandemic. Organized by the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) and other conservation NGOs, the webinar featured an illustrious set of panelists from both the conservation and development sectors. They included, Alice Ruhweza, Africa Region Director, World Wildlife Fund International; Josphat Ngonyo, Executive Director, Africa Network for Animal Welfare; Lisa Parrot, Regional Programme and Quality Director, Save the Children; and was moderated Lucy Waruingi, Executive Director, African Conservation Centre.
While speaking on the topic of building back better through a green and just recovery, Alice talked about the immense opportunities that the pandemic provides for Africa to build back better through nature. Nature is a critical launch pad in this recovery. Alice highlighted the numerous ways through which nature can aid in the process of building back better through its contributions to the food system, the health system, and the important contribution of nature on the economy.
This pandemic has greatly undermined the resilience of communities. Josphat discussed the practical applications to support people and rural communities to build back better. Among the ways to support communities is through being inclusive in community participation, public support, community empowering and promoting sustainability. Core to this is building and nurturing partnership with communities and integrating them into conservation and development activities.
“There is a clear impact on the livelihoods, health and education system because of the pandemic,” Lisa said. Furthermore, the stress on the livelihoods of communities, has a direct threat to the environment through poaching, deforestation and other negative environmental practices as communities try to secure livelihoods. Lisa mentioned that it would be advantageous to adapt the One Health approach whereby health in the community encompasses the health of people, livestock, wildlife and the environment. This approach ensures that all sectors are provided for as they are interdependent.
The webinar called on the need to enhance integration and partnerships among the conservation, humanitarian, development and other sectors to holistically and effectively address the economic, social and environment concerns of our world.
Click below to watch the webinar recording
WWF policy brief: Africa in the context of COVID-19
Save the Children’s report: Protect a Generation: The impact of COVID-19 on children’s lives
Caring classrooms: Lessons plans in humane education
A summary of the Covid and Adaptive Leadership webinar series I: Practices Conservation Leaders Can Employ to Cushion their Organizations During Crises