While significant challenges for researching and managing biodiversity in Africa
remain, there is enough information available to give broad but
concrete direction to the development of national, sub-regional and
regional biodiversity policy.
multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) exist to promote
biodiversity protection. Most African countries have ratified the
Ramsar Convention (protecting wetlands of international importance),
the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Convention on the Conservation of
Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), the Convention Concerning the
Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World
Heritage Convention), the United Nations Convention to Combat
Desertification (UNCCD), the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC), and the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).
These global MEAs are complemented by sub-regional and regional
agreements, such as the African Convention on the Conservation of
Nature and Natural Resources (ACCNNR) and the New Partnership for
Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Environmental Initiative. The 2002 World
Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) saw convergence on a shared
vision of sustainable development as a way of alleviating poverty,
raising human well-being, and simultaneously meeting biodiversity
protection objectives. Recognition of the administrative burden that
the multiplicity of environmental agreements places on
resourceconstrained governments has prompted a desire to rationalize
their implementation. Among the conclusions of the WSSD was that the
link between the conservation of natural resources and economic
development in Africa is particularly close.
The CBD is particularly focussed on biodiversity. It has three objectives:
- The conservation of biodiversity;
- The sustainable use of its components; and
- The equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of biodiversity.
any one of these objectives is dependent upon the other. This requires
adequate political and legal instruments to appropriately allocate
access, benefits and costs and to make linkages between different
environmental sectors as well as with development sectors. Such an
approach is discussed in Interlinkages: The Environment and Policy Web
in Africa. Partnerships with non-governmental organizations (NGOs),
community-based organizations, and the technical and scientific
community play an important role in conservation planning and policy.
Such partnerships are also critical to the success of implementation