ACBA and AfDB Analyze the Economics of Biodiversity Dasgupta Review
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On June 30, 2021, the African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) in collaboration African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted a webinar focused on discussing and analyzing The Economics of Biodiversity: Dasgupta Review. Commissioned by the UK Government, it emphasizes that the economics of biodiversity are complicated and aims to inform policy while interrogating if markets can address externalities and inequities without government intervention.
Vanessa Uchie, Division Manager, Policy Analysis, African Natural Resources Centre, AfDB, kickstarted the webinar saying, “We have learned that the most biodiverse countries in the world are within Africa yet we have continually undermined the value of the sector. However, we at AfDB have developed a polycentric approach that supports the building back better strategies while scaling up our investments revolving around nature-based solutions.”
Themed 'Economics of Biodiversity: The African Grassroots, Regional Development Bodies & Development Finance Institutions' Perspective,' the purpose of the webinar was to unpack the discussion on the economics of biodiversity by exploring the local realities on the ground for Africa’s indigenous and local communities.
While delivering his opening remarks, AWF CEO Kaddu Sebunya reiterated, “The world is interconnected and we need to act accordingly. African voices must be included while informing decision-making policies. These include African youth who must be involved now and can harness technology to make meaningful contributions to a future where biodiversity is on the center stage of economic development.”
With over 110 participants on the call, it was evident that the report has garnered the curiosity of not only Africa but also the international community who were eager to listen to the varying opinions from the great expert line-up including: Vanessa Uchie – Division Manager, Policy Analysis, African Natural Resources Centre, AfDB; Kaddu Sebunya – CEO African Wildlife Foundation; Lucy Waruingi – Executive Director, African – Executive President, African Indigenous Women Organization Central African Network; Khalid Mather – Environmental Scientist; Ousmane Gning – ENDA Tiers Monde (Francophone); Zéneb Toure – OIC Director, AHGC & Division Manager for Civil Society & Community Engagement; Moussa Leko – Acting Director, Environment and Natural Resources, ECOWAS; and Nour Abdrassoul – The Development Bank of Central African States, BDEAC. The webinar was moderated by Pauline Nantongo – Executive Director ECOTRUST Uganda.
Sandy Sheard, the Head of the Review team and Deputy Director at HM Treasury delivered the keynote address stating, “A combination of population growth and our natural resources is one thing that we cannot ignore. We need to start looking at nature as an asset as it provides goods and services that regulate various aspects that contribute to human well-being.”
All panelists shared the sentiments that the responsibility of taking care of natural resources should not solely lie on governments but largely on individual commitments. It is expected that African voices, particularly those of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), will enrich the current discourse on the conservation economy as the next biodiversity decade kicks off. The rich discussions also shone some light on key initiatives that regional development financial institutions such as AfDB and ECOWAS have mapped out to ensure the continent is on the right path to achieving the AU Agenda 2063 goals.
“At ECOWAS, we have a new environmental policy that is set to incentivize conservation and boost an economy revolving around nature delivering tangible benefits for the continent. The interventions within this policy highlight the various synergies across multiple sectors and we have already seen the impact in various projects. Moussa Leko, Acting Director, Environment and Natural Resources, ECOWAS shared.
It is undeniable that the only way we can move forward and live up to the ambitious goals that are set from all levels, we all need to work together and understand the synergies across the board. All panelists and even participants echoed the need to move towards a world where we engage sustainably with nature and embrace the symbiotic relationship of nature and our well-being and prosperity.