In recognizing the important economic and social development transition that Africa is making, and the central role that natural resources management and conservation plays, the African Union Commission and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), have signed a memorandum of understanding.
The memorandum is anchored in the first aspiration of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 that seeks to achieve a prosperous Africa that enhances inclusive growth and sustainable development. This marks a paradigm shift for Africa’s conservation agenda and emphasis the need for the continent to optimize its resources to benefit all Africans and ensure socioeconomic transformation in the next 50 years.
The aspiration to manage Africa’s ecosystems is rooted in Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance to ensure that Africa’s natural resources are healthy, valued and protected, with climate resilient economies and communities. It is also aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) geared at shifting the world onto a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development.
H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, in her remarks during said:
“The Commission appreciates the role played by AWF as an important partner in realising Africa’s Agenda 2063 goals and in the conservation of Africa’s unique natural resources. We believe that economic development and environmental conservation need not be mutually exclusive and that Africa can progress without disrupting the rhythm of its natural heritage or stopping the pace of development.”
This partnership empowers Africa to prioritize the conservation of wildlife and wild lands, even as it pursues its developmental and economic growth objectives. Further, it catalyses multiple stakeholders such as the media, political leaders, the private sector, civil society, and Africa’s foreign trading partners to play their role in the fundamental changes taking place in our society. This creates an environment to have a sustained and balanced economic agenda that doesn’t undermine natural ecosystems.
AWF is the oldest and largest conservation organization focuses solely on the African continent and is committed to amplifying the African voice on wildlife and wild lands conservation globally. AWF is advocating for cross-border policy and institutional reforms to secure the relevance of conservation in sustainable development. AWF commitment to provide human and technical resources to ensure that the aspirations of this memorandum are fully realized.
Mr. Kaddu Sebunya, AWF’s President, speaking at the signing said:
“This collaboration between the AUC and AWF affords us the political goodwill to engage with policy makers critically … I believe this partnership gives conservation organizations a seat at the high-table to engage constructively with governments to achieve the AU Agenda 2063 goals”.
Africa must, make better choices to mitigate the consequences and impact of economic development decisions on conservation of biodiversity. Economic growth at the expense of natural resources will ultimately cripple prosperity for future generations.
Through the memorandum, the AUC will encourage member countries to implement the African Common Strategy on Combatting Illegal Exploitation and Illegal Trade in Wild Flora and Fauna in Africa. The Commission will further provide policy frameworks that will encourage the conservation of community lands and spur private sector investments.