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 2nd Edition

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

12 FEBRUARY 2021

Happy New Year!  We are excited about 2021 – the “new” Super Year for Nature.

What a year 2020 was! Its hard to think of the past year without thinking of the words “COVID 19”. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated yet again how closely connected the health and wellbeing of Africa’s people is with the ecological infrastructure that provides the basis for their livelihoods and prosperity. It also brought to the fore the bitter reminder that we must urgently re-balance our relationship with nature for our health and that of the planet.

Welcome to the second edition of our African Ecological Futures Newsletter. In this edition, we are pleased to shed light on new workstreams in our African Ecological Futures work including (i) the ‘Beyond Tourism’ work looking at  what would be the compelling future models for diversified income and benefits from nature/wildlife management; (ii) a new initiative on Mainstreaming Natural Capital Assessment in African Development Finance with the Green Growth Knowledge Program and the African Development Bank funded by the Mava Foundation; and (3) our new advocacy work for a Green and Just Recovery in partnership with the Boston Consulting Group . We also share updates on ongoing initiatives such as the linear infrastructure study in Kenya and Natural capital assessment in Gamba, Gabon.

Happy Reading and looking forward to your feedback!
Beyond Tourism and Trophy Hunting in Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how vulnerable conservation models purely based on tourism can be by putting jobs and conservation efforts at risk in times of a crisis. All touristic activity and businesses were brought to an abrupt end in March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Estimates by the African Union suggest that the economic impact on the Africa tourism and travel sector alone may be as much as $50 billion USD (nearly 7 times greater than the 2008 economic crisis), in addition to wide spread job losses. As part of ‘Building Back Better’, alternative revenue models therefore need to be developed urgently to diversify community income beyond tourism, and thus build the resilience of rural people and wildlife to potential environmental, climatic, global health and economic shocks.

In an effort to address this challenge, a landmark study on beyond tourism options was commissioned by Luc Hoffman Institute and WWF in 2019. While this study revealed a number of models and options that challenge the current status quo, there are in reality only a limited number of operational, mostly locally relevant models that demonstrate the potential for upscaling.

The Beyond Tourism Innovation Challenge, which was led by WWF Regional Office for Africa, in association with the Luc Hoffmann Institute, WWF Norway, and the Africa Leadership University, is an attempt to further reach out to partners on viable ideas. Over 300 applications were received from all over the world. Winners and their winning ideas were announced on December 11, 2020.

 

Mainstreaming Natural Capital in African Development Finance
The Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP) and African Development Bank (AfDB) have joined with the MAVA Economics for Nature (E4N) team and WWF to implement a four-year project entitled ‘Mainstream Natural Capital in African Development Finance’. The project will lay the foundation for natural capital-based green economies (NCbGEs) in Africa by mainstreaming natural capital in AfDB’s development finance operations and its support to Regional Member Countries. The project takes an applied, co-creative approach in four activities with significant opportunities for high-level impact:
  1. Integrating natural capital in African infrastructure finance
  2. Developing a business case for natural capital among multilateral development banks
  3. Integrating natural capital in African sovereign credit ratings
  4. Building capacity for natural capital accounting and assessment in Africa’s green growth
These activities are the building blocks for gaining internal support, momentum and capacity at AfDB and in Africa to mainstream natural capital in development finance on the march ahead to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. WWF as a partner will be directly impacted through this project as it will complement existing WWF staff capacity and programs such as the African Ecological Futures initiative and other related projects.
 
 
Green Recovery and Rebuilding Africa’s Ecological Futures

The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that our economies cannot continue to grow at the expense of nature. Much like the Ebola virus, COVID 19 as a zoonotic diseases, has been directly associated with habitat fragmentation, and illegal and unregulated wildlife trade and markets. These pandemics are just one of the consequences of our constant expansion into wild habitats and overexploitation of natural resources.

In response, the importance of aligning COVID-19 recovery packages with climate and environmental objectives has been highlighted in recent times. As Governments are designing a wide range of policy responses to the COVID crisis, WWF is taking this opportunity to develop policy discussion papers related to the post COVID-19 rebuilding of Africa’s Ecological Futures. This initiative responds also to the call for ‘Green and Just Recovery’ to the current COVID-crisis, including the African Union Green Stimulus Programme and related policy advisories. A green recovery is our chance to rebuild economic growth and ensure long-term prosperity, by adopting environmentally-sensitive policies and business models. It is also an opportunity to review the prevailing development paradigms in Africa, and to ‘Build Back Better’ towards a future development pathway for Africa that increases its resilience against future crises through better management of its ecological infrastructure.

The initiative will build on the ongoing policy-engagement work undertaken by WWF and partners in the context of ‘Green and Just Recovery’ and ‘African Ecological Futures’. Furthermore, as part of the New Deal for Nature and People (ND4NP), WWF is leading high level dialogue with heads of states, businesses and other key actors in Africa, providing for a key entry point in this regard.  Further along the process, it is intended that, as part of this process, efforts will be undertaken to establish more permanent Africa-based platforms for futures thinking and collaboration across different sectors on the continent.
Update of ongoing work 

 Linear Infrastructure and Ecology: Case of Kenya
 
The Development Corridors Partnership, led by UNEP-WCMC, is helping countries in East Africa to plan for a sustainable future. WWF -AEF and the African Conservation Centre have partnered to undertake research through a series of activities aimed at generating evidence of the impacts and making effective contribution towards sustainable design and implementation of eco-friendly linear infrastructure. Within this context, WWF and ACC with the help of the Kenya Wildlife Society have been doing research on “Mortality on rail and roads across Tsavo Conservation Area, South eastern Kenya”. The study objectives were:
  • Establish the magnitude of road kills on different wildlife types;
  • Analyse temporal and spatial patterns of road kills;
  • Identify hotspots of wildlife road kills; and
  • Determine the critical mitigation and infrastructure design priorities
  • Influence policy in inter-sectoral ministries to address wildlife mortality
Statistical examination, hotspot mapping, and determinants of road kills were used to analyze data from January to June 2020. Preliminary road kill results identified fifty species, with the majority being birds. 52% of the observed road kills occurred within urban settlements; 58% of road kills occurred near water sources; 61% of road kills occurred near adjoining roads.

The ecological impacts of infrastructure are just beginning to be recognized in Kenya with infrastructure through wildlife ranges increasingly becoming wildlife sinks for many vulnerable and near threatened species. Road kill mitigation must therefore consider integrating technical, social (soft/human focused) and ecological (species focused) solutions. There is need for:
  • Support for collaborative development of mitigation tools/frameworks/legislations, their implementation, and impact monitoring and reporting;
  • More robust data collecting on the impacts of infrastructure through collaborative research/studies/training/capacity building; and
  • A cross sectoral approach towards addressing policy gaps through high level dialogues.
 
Securing Gabon’s Ecological Future 
  • Contribution of nature to economic development at the Gamba landscape level in Gabon: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the work had to be converted to a desktop study. The intention is to study on a biodiversity credit system for Gabon to be used in the context of a mitigation hierarchy, biodiversity offsets and to combine it with a delivery mechanism based on payments for ecosystem services. 
  • The initial scoping report is completed, and the study is moving on to the more technical and financial analysis. The next deliverable will be a review of policy options and technical options to be shared with the relevant government stakeholders. Final deliverable is a set of policy briefs in both French and English.
Infrastructure and Nature

The Infrastructure and Nature coalition, representing more than 20 organizations, was formed in 2019 to organize the Infrastructure and Nature Pavilion at the 2021 World Conservation Congress.  The coalition has been holding a series of virtual discussions from October to December 2020 with leading private and public sector actors on the financing, planning and development of sustainable infrastructure, these seminars explored solutions for reducing risks and generating incentives for building nature into future infrastructure business models. Each session had an expert group of panelists and very informative discussions were convened.
Below are links to the webinar recordings:
 
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Publications, Reports & Articles
Some interesting pieces for your library:

WWF Blogs  
To find the infrastructure layout in Africa under AEF II visit:  
https://wwfkegiscoe.wwfkenya.org/aefII/  and for the infrastructure webmap as a standalone see link: https://arcg.is/1KTu11
Featured article:

Need for robust environmental safeguard systems for the Belt Road Initiative (BRI) in Africa.

In the last 20 years, China has strongly endeared itself to the African continent and established a significant presence in many African countries. In this regard, the Belt Road Initiative (also known as the One Belt One Road -OBOR- Initiative) is premised on the ability to improve connectivity between China and the rest of the world( mostly Europe and Africa) through infrastructure investment and regional cooperation. The initiative is seen by the proponents and recipient continents as an opportunity for economic growth and integration that can facilitate the movement of goods and people. For most African countries, the attractive investment packages through the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) are perceived as part of the one Belt one Road initiative.
The trillion-dollar initiative has offered the African continent a mix of investments in many sectors that include transportation, communication, and energy. However, the deployment of these projects in Africa has presented Imagemajor concerns on real and potential environmental effects, as these China-funded investments have revolved mainly in rail lines, highways, seas, dry ports, and biodiverse areas. A good case example is the Lamu Southern Sudan Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) in Kenya. LAPSSET is Kenya’s second transport corridor after the Mombasa – Uganda corridor which starts in Mombasa through Nairobi and joins Uganda in the Northern part. As an Infrastructure and Transport corridor, LAPSSET’s investment components include ports, pipelines, roads, railways.

It is already documented that many of the BRI supported infrastructure projects along the major corridors are known to pass through ecologically sensitive areas. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) 2017 noted that there will be considerable overlap between BRI projects and sensitive environments.  WWF opined that over 1,739 Important Bird Areas and Key Biodiversity Areas are at risk of harm from the initiative. The information by WWF was generated from data collected from international organizations. According to the report, over 265 threatened species could be adversely affected. Increasing access to undeveloped areas like forests, wildlife corridors will increase the likelihood of reduced natural habitats, poaching, and deforestation in those areas.
The need for robust and deliberate safeguard systems integrated into the financing and project implementation by African governments and China must be an urgent priority for securing the ecological integrity of Africa’s biodiversity within the BRI’s corridors.
Furthermore, major multilateral financiers such as the Asian Development Bank, Exim Bank, and other financiers must critically examine their decision making processes beyond the demand by recipient countries with a good understanding that these projects have the potential to irreversibly damage the environment and ultimately negatively impact the livelihoods of people who rely heavily on the environmental goods and services.  Failure to implement these safeguards will ultimately define the sustainability of these projects in the short and longer-term.

 
Article by Jackson Kiplagat
(Regional Sustainable Investments Manager, WWF Kenya)

In the pipeline
  • African Protected Areas Congress (2021) - AEF is leading the cross-cutting theme on linear infrastructure and futures thinking. 
  • Collaborative work on Sustainable development of Lake Chad with the African Development Bank
  • “End of Love” Conservation play from Stand Up, Shout Out
  • Efforts underway between GEF and WWF to establish a collaborative platform for African nature-based tourism enterprises, conservation areas and local communities – a response to COVID-19.
Copyright © *| February 2021 | WWF Regional Office for Africa | African Ecological Futures 



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