In recognizing the need for genuine partnerships to ensure that sustainable tourism development is in harmony with and compliments conservation of the environment, wildlife and wild lands and the utilization of the natural resources in a modernizing Africa, the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) have signed a memorandum of understanding.
The partnership between the two institutions marks another lasting gain for the conservation of wildlife and wild lands as the two parties work towards reclaiming the African conservation agenda embedded in IGAD’s strategic direction in enhancing regional cooperation and integration for the region as well as the African Union Agenda 2063.
IGAD Executive Secretary Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, in his remarks during the signing, said, “As we help our Member States to implement the IGAD sustainable tourism master plan, we want to partner with the African Wildlife Foundation to enrich our efforts to preserving, protecting, and improving the quality of the environment and also in developing harmonious strategies and policies that ensure prudent and rational utilization of our natural resources.”
The partnership empowers IGAD’s member countries’ to prioritize the conservation of wildlife and wild lands while addressing policy issues around Natural Resources Management (NRM) and ecosystem resilience. Further, it facilitates discussions and exchanges in developing uniquely African perspective, vision, and voice in efforts to reclaim the African Conservation Agenda for Africans under the AU Agenda 2063 while creating an environment to have a sustained and balanced economic agenda that doesn’t undermine natural ecosystems.
Mr. Kaddu Sebunya, AWF’s President, speaking at the signing ceremony said, “Businesses and governments have many priorities, and they tend to look at the environment or conservation separately from economic growth. Many a time, we as conservationists have been caught flat-footed by governments’ big infrastructure projects because we have not been at the table where critical decisions are made. However, the partnership we are entering today affords us the political goodwill to engage with policy makers critically. I believe it presents a chance to play an active role in the fundamental changes taking place in our society”.
Through the partnership, IGAD will encourage member countries to commit to decisively support conservation of the environment and wildlife by including them into policies while working with them to provide the necessary and legal framework for the development of the conservation and tourism sector hence enabling Africa make better choices to mitigate the consequences and impact of the decisions on the environment and its biodiversity without disrupting the rhythm of the natural heritage or stopping the pace of development.
AWF, on the other hand, is committed to render any technical support to IGAD and share best practices in conservation to ensure the ambitions of this joint effort are fully realized.