The Executive Secretary of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) Mr. Ruud Jansen participated in a workshop on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he shared GDSA’s role in promoting NCA across the continent.
Organized by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the African Union (AU), the workshop (April 5-6, 2019) brought together representatives from 32 countries in Africa and NCA experts from the continent and beyond. The objective of the workshop was to engage on the latest advances and opportunities in NCA in Africa in the context of the process towards post-2020 framework for biodiversity.
“This workshop was another great example of how natural capital accounting has become a widely accepted concept in Africa as it puts a value on Africa’s rich nature, biodiversity and natural resources for the world to appreciate and for African countries to assist in better planning, decision-making and policy development,” said Mr. Jansen.
In his presentation, the GDSA’s head indicated that member states have made significant progress towards implementing NCA initiatives compared to non-GDSA ones with country programming documents specifically referencing GDSA as an impetus for their NCA work.
He noted that GDSA has supported Liberia, a member state, to carry out a pilot Natural Capital Mapping exercise that highlighted the country’s key natural assets including forests, carbon stocks, protected areas as well as mining and agriculture concessions that present threats to the natural capital if not managed well.
He added that GDSA has also contributed to Botswana’s National Framework for Sustainable Development and to building the capacities of Rwanda, Kenya and Botswana to implement Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES).
Mr. Jansen said the GDSA has helped mobilize at least US$118.3 million for member countries to support the 3 key commitments of the declaration including incorporating the value of natural capital in public and private sector policies and decision-making and pursuing sustainable development.
The Executive Secretary expressed satisfaction that NCA is making progress in Africa citing recent resolutions of support by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA).
He also cited Uganda’s biodiversity/species account and South Africa’s ecosystems accounts as further evidence of the same. He added that key partnerships such as WAVES led by the World Bank and the Natural Capital Coalition (NCC) are helping to deepen NCA in Africa and beyond.
Mr. Jansen thanked the European Union and CBD Secretariat for pursuing and supporting efforts to value biodiversity and expressed the wish that economic valuation and NCA for biodiversity would feature prominently in the 2020 CBD Conference of Parties (CoP) in China.
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