IUCN-WCC-Screenshot

ABCG at IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille France

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:

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.

ABCG-WWF-birth-spacing-demo

Benefits of Population, Health and Environment Approaches for 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.

Click below resources to learn more:

Webinar presentation

PHE reference data sheet

PRB 2021 world Population Data Sheet highlights

CMP-PHE-Initiative-Photo-2021

What is New in the World of Population, Health and Environment?

The Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) Population, Health and Environment (PHE) sub task of the Global Health Linkages to Biodiversity Conservation aims to demonstrate a strategic holistic approach to meeting people’s needs for health including family planning and reproductive health and maintaining restoring ecosystem services for greater environmental and social impact at multiple levels.

In a recent webinar held on July 22, 2021, ABCG and partners, the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN), Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Endangered Wildlife Trust, had a robust conversation on new developments in the world of PHE.

The webinar highlighted new issues, ideas and next steps in PHE including the newly published ABCG PHE Reference Guide, Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) PHE learning initiative updates, and the IUCN Motion on the importance of the conservation of nature of removing barriers to rights-based voluntary family planning.

David Johnson, who co-leads the IUCN task force on reducing barriers to family planning outlined key issues they are and have put in place to ensure success in the motion in the quest of reducing barriers in family planning that included:

1. Setting up a task force across commissions to develop guidance on how and why removing barriers to rights-based voluntary family planning can strengthen conservation outcomes in addition to promoting the health well-being and empowerment of women and girls.

2. Try to reach out to IUCN members state to include the importance of reducing barriers to family planning in their national plans under the convention on biological diversity.

3. Urging IUCN and other members to undertake internal training on what PHE is, and what barriers to family planning are and to consider a pilot PHE project. He also called upon conservation organizations to address family planning issues irrespective of whether they are implementing the PHE project.

Megan Morrison, a key leader on the Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) PHE Learning Initiative gave a background and an update about the project on how the groups of conservation organizations are working together to improve the design, managing and overseeing of conservation outcomes, and the learning initiative. The learning initiative is aimed at; improving CMP’s and, more broadly, the conservation sector’s understanding of PHE and its value to biodiversity conservation; identifying barriers that prevent uptake of this type of approach, and recommend actions the PHE community and others can take to remove those barriers.

Janet Edmond, the Senior Director for Inclusive Partnerships at Conservation International and the lead for the ABCG PHE working group discussed the potential and application of the PHE Reference Sheet. The PHE Reference Sheet is designed to help conservation teams test assumptions and measure progress of integrated PHE projects over time. The tool can also help with potential project design and implementation of integrated cross-sectoral PHE projects. 

Click here for more on the presentation and to listen to the webinar recording

pexels-photo-cheetah-southafrica.jpeg

ABCG News Digest: August 2021

The August 2021 Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) News Digest features our latest news and upcoming events. Get to read about lessons learnt in the application and implementation of Freshwater Conservation and Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (FW-WASH) advocacy strategies in South Africa and Uganda in translating projects to policies. As well as, lessons from Africa to the Navajo nation on freshwater resources management.

Read on the efforts made by ABCG to empower communities adopt to climate change in Zimbabwe by developing Community Based Adaptation Projects that will address climate-driven impacts. And, how the ABCG new business plan is guiding us in the journey to achieving greater impact for the conservation of Africa Biodiversity.

Most significantly, save the dates for the upcoming events on Population, Health and Environment Approaches and Benefit for Conservation on August 19, 2021 and World Water Week 2021: Advocacy in Africa – Tools for Integrating WASH-Conservation in local agendas on August 24, 2021.

Read the digest Here

ABCG PHE Cameroon stakeholder mobilization and sensitization activity

To Realized Positive and Lasting Global Health Outcomes, Stakeholder Engagement in Key

One key lesson that ABCG learned at the onset of the Population Health and Environment project was that a difference of perception between actors involved in the activities caused differential levels of engagement. Therefore, one of the most important activity of the project is the mobilization of different stakeholder groups around the project. These mobilization events ensure sufficient and clear understanding of the project’s goals, specific project objectives and expected results.

Population, Health and Environment

The Contribution of Voluntary Family Planning and Reproductive Health to Global Health and Sustainable Development in Cameroon

There is a strong and direct link between human health and ecosystem health, both depend on each other. The current COVID-19 pandemic continues to exemplify this interrelationship and the need to find a balance where both nature and people thrive.

To promote this healthy interrelationship, the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) through the Population Health and Environment (PHE) working group, is implementing effective approaches that integrate biodiversity conservation and activities that contribute to improved global health. Centered on a holistic approach to health and environment, the PHE project includes the promotion of proper nutrition and food security through training on sustainable agriculture. It also incorporates improving sanitation and access to clean water through activities such as reducing deforestation, improving water quality and reducing pollution to nearby watersheds. Moreover, the approach focuses on providing knowledge and promoting better access to health services such as access to family planning and reproductive health services, to improve family well-being.

The human health aspect is important to environmental health because, a healthy community is better placed to take care of their environment and improve the welfare of the ecosystem. World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a member of ABCG is leading the execution of the PHE project working with community members to improve human and environmental health in the buffer zones of Lobeke National Park, Southeast Cameroon.

“We are working with members of the community, in collaboration with our government health partner and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to address multiple factors that affect their health by imparting them with knowledge and building their capacity on health issues,” says Nathalie Simoneau, Lead Specialist, Gender and Social Inclusion at WWF.

As part of the project efforts on building capacity of different stakeholder groups on health issues, in 2019 WWF staff mobilized and sensitized 474 key stakeholders in order for them to have inputs in the project design, framing and implementation. The stakeholders comprised of the WWF and the Ministry of Forests and Fauna conservation staff, administrative, health and municipal authorities and community leaders (men and women of the Baka and Bantu groups) in Cameroon.

Improving skills and capacity of adult women and youth is an important avenue for ensuring the uptake of the PHE approach. WWF’s health partners conducted 12 capacity building sessions for women community focal points where a total of 280 adult women and teenagers from the Baka and Bantu groups actively participated. The sessions highlighted three themes: human reproduction and reproductive health, prevention of unwanted pregnancies in teenage girls and adult women, the prevalence of early pregnancies and prevention of maternal and child mortality, during pregnancy and post-natal. The sessions also addressed the health risks associated with teenage pregnancy and consequences that early pregnancy can have on the potential of teenage girls to live a productive and healthy life.

The women focal points were involved in activities such as group discussions, brainstorming, short presentations and sharing among participants and trainers. The trainees also had an opportunity to explore the root causes of high maternal and child mortality rates in their communities. Poverty and a lack of means to feed pregnant mothers and young children, complications during pregnancy and at birth, and high frequency of pregnancies were identified as leading causes of high maternal and child mortality.

Apart from capacity building sessions, the project also promotes reproductive health services and voluntary access to family planning methods to women and couples through the help of trained community health focal points. Trained community health focal points promote the use of barrier methods like male and female condoms and natural methods (fertility awareness in women) among the community members, and provide guidance on how to access hormonal contraceptives from the health centers as needed. 

In the months of January to March, 2020 women focal points led the equal distribution of 21,336 condoms to Moloundou, Yenga and Salapoumbé Health Centers. They also referred health-related issues like family planning counselling or pre and post-natal visits to the nearest health centers.

“Through our health partners’ efforts, we are providing these services to promote women and infants’ health outcomes thereby supporting to decrease child mortality and morbidity rates in the project area. Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies result in fewer medical complications for women and lead to healthier mothers and babies,” Nathalie Simoneau adds.

Community members who live around Lobeke National Park can now boast of improved knowledge and health to enable them to take better care of the environment they so deeply depend upon.

For more information contact: Nathalie.Simoneau(at)wwfus.org