ABCG is reducing watershed degradation and improving the health of freshwater ecosystems through linking freshwater conservation and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). In response to human-induced threats to biodiversity and freshwater resources in Africa, ABCG partners, CI and JGI brought together conservation and development actors to address these multisectoral issues and develop solutions for improved human and ecosystem health in sub-Saharan Africa.
Building on previous work done under the Land Rights Tenure Rights thematic area, the Community Based Forestry Management (CBFM) approach focuses on promoting and understanding best practices in the implementation of CBFM projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo for improved conservation outcomes. ABCG is working to initiate a Community of Practice of CBFM stakeholders, where organizations can convene at local, provincial and national scales to share experiences, best practices and develop common standards for program design and implementation.
There are strong linkages between biodiversity conservation and human health, the health of domestic animals, wildlife health, and ecosystem health. ABCG implements and promotes effective approaches that integrate biodiversity with actions that contribute to improved global health. Through the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) working group, we have built and continue to support multi-sectoral partnerships to ensure biodiversity conservation and human wellbeing outcomes are achieved in tandem.
PHE approaches can take many forms, and in general involve conservation and health organizations partnering to deliver voluntary family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) services in remote areas with high biodiversity. The goal of these projects is to engage communities living in and around biodiversity hotspots in activities that integrate livelihoods, food security and natural resource management with improved access to health services including Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), nutrition, and a range of other services. The projects helped local communities and policymakers understand the relationship between having healthy families with an improved stewardship of natural resources.
Our research provides an evidence base of successful examples that integrate biodiversity indicators into conservation and development planning. This working group, including CI, JGI and WWF, is focusing on two strategic approaches to achieve its goals.
Ensure understanding and engagement of donors and policy makers to integrate gender-responsive PHE approaches into their future programming for improved conservation outcomes.
Promote PHE best practices and projects at national and regional scales, based on field lessons garnered by WWF US and partners in southern Cameroon and JGI and partners in Western Tanzania
Throughout these activities, the inclusion of women and marginalized populations, such as the poor and youth, in decision-making processes is particularly important in relation to health and ecosystem services, and a key component of piloting and promoting best practices in PHE activities.
Climate change has direct impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity but may also indirectly impact nature through human adaptation responses. A major oversight of most assessments of climate change impacts to date has been the inadequate consideration of the indirect impacts due to human responses to climate change. ABCG has conducted over 650 surveys in 19 communities throughout sub-Saharan Africa and found more than a third of the climate change coping strategies could potentially have a negative impact on biodiversity. Data and information gathered is used to identify and implement ecosystem-based adaptation interventions that help farming, livestock and fishing communities adapt to climate change, improving their overall wellbeing and the biodiversity around them.
Historically the conservation field has primarily functioned by combatting conservation issues as they arise, thus being a reactive discipline. However, such a piecemeal approach is insufficient at addressing the complexity and reality of today’s conservation challenges.