The World Forum on Natural Capital, held this week at the Edinburgh International Conference Center in Scotland, is one of the leading natural capital events in the world. Attended by business leaders, government representatives, and environmental experts, this year’s event allowed for high-level discussions on the latest developments in the field. The event coincided with the launch of the Natural Capital Protocol, drafted with assistance of Conservation International’s scientists (including Rosimeiry Portela, Moore Center for Science and Oceans). The event was scheduled in advance of the climate negotiations in Paris.
Several Conservation International staff members attended the forum, including Yasushi Hibi, Yoji Natori, and Aya Uraguchi from CI Japan and Jaco Venter and Kim Reuter from the Africa + Madagascar Field Division. Over 500 delegates attended from more than 40 nations. Delegates of the forum were addressed via video by Prince Charles as well as in-person by the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon.
Dr. Kim Reuter (Natural Capital Accounting Director, AMFD) was selected to participate in the Young Leaders’ Session. Via the Young Leaders’ program, Kim participated in a roundtable discussion lead by Sir Richard Branson, focusing on how natural capital can be better managed.
“Young leaders are in a unique position – they are the future and have the potential to drive change and tackle the most important issues we face,” said Sir Branson.
As part of the roundtable, Kim was given the opportunity to ask Sir Branson how he would pitch natural capital accounting to high-level leaders in Africa in 30 seconds or less. The context provided for the question included discussing the role of natural capital accounting across Africa, for example, under the Gaborone Declaration. Sir Branson provided insightful thoughts on this, stating that, “Africa, where it’s been protected, is spectacular. And so, I would say to government officials let’s work together to try to protect what we have, protect what is left of our forests, protect what is left of the wonderful wildlife that we have and build from there. And if possible, reverse some of the (negative) trends.”
The roundtable culminated in the signing of a letter by Richard Branson addressed to the delegates that will be attending the COP21 in Paris. The letter, also signed by forum attendees, urges world leaders to acknowledge that climate change cannot be tackled without halting the loss of natural capital.