Acba Key Message

Sustainable Use (SU)


1.    Sustainable use represents a powerful anchor and glue that delivers on all three goals of the Convention in a reinforcing manner. A sustainable use approach delivers benefits and conservation outcomes because it is people-centered and nature positive. Sustainability denotes the increasing value of nature while delivering on societal aspirations.

2.    Sustainable use needs to be a collective responsibility of humanity because nature’s contributions to people are not limited to indigenous people and local communities alone.

3.    ACBA acknowledges that there are varied scales and types of benefits of sustainable use of nature. Some are very localized, such as pollination; others extend over vast distances, such as clean air or food provision through trade; yet others are intangible such as cultural and educational values. All of these need to be considered.

4.    The sustainable use concept enables a holistic approach to managing multiple objectives at the landscape level, placing people at the center of decision-making and managing the trade-offs between competing interests so that we can not only create better resilience but also anticipate and avoid pandemics like COVID-19.




1.    Sustainable use requires that user-groups understand and accept that there are local and global limits to use levels. In increasing cases these limits are being exceeded. The more people understand and respect these limits on how they use nature, the easier it is to hold each other to account and to achieve sustainable use.

2.    Minimizing conflicts between users can enhance biodiversity conservation, maintain ecosystem integrity and ensure fair and equitable benefits from nature.

3.    The Sustainable Development Goals show the interconnectedness between the users of nature and economic and social benefits, and also provide a framework accessible to countries and communities alike, for addressing tradeoffs.


Governance Rights and Power


1.    Sustainable use demands an effective and enforceable governance framework that includes policies and practices that govern the relationship between user groups and nature and hold users accountable to each other and society for their actions. Good examples include community-based natural resources management in Namibia, and of marine resources in East Africa.

2.    Understanding power relations between actors is critical if there is to be meaningful engagement and empowerment of indigenous people and local communities that carry a disproportionate burden of conserving nature.

3.    The role of user groups as custodians of nature and their rights to use their land and resources should be acknowledged and accepted. This acknowledgement empowers those assuming the responsibility to manage and use nature.  Tenure has to be strengthened.


Local and Global Targets


1.    Sustainable use is site and context specific determined by local natural endowments, user group dynamics and external influences. This local context needs to be understood as it can influence user group behavior and the resilience of ecosystems can be compromised by indiscriminate use of biodiversity.

2.    Opportunities to use qualitative data and proxy indicators to assess sustainability at the local level should be encouraged and capacitated.

3.    More protected and conserved areas can make the world a better place provided the type of protected and conserved areas are established in a consultative and transparent way that enables rights to be devolved to local levels and local communities are not displaced.


Ecosystem and Species Conservation


1.    Significant biodiversity lies in areas traditionally managed, owned, used and occupied by IPLCs. In these areas “other effective area-based conservation measures” (OECMs) like ecosystem-based adaptation and nature-based solutions can enable more inclusive and transparent participation of indigenous people and local communities to contribute to and benefit from conservation efforts.

2.    Restoration of degraded (currently low-value) areas is key part of OECMs. Majority of people live where ecosystems have been altered and degraded. It compliments PAs reverse trends in biodiversity loss.


Traditional Knowledge Systems and Culture


1.    Sustainable use practices have evolved with communities and therefore the communities can offer valuable lessons on adaptation and resilience in order to evolve modern sustainable use practices.

2.    Local communities are already dealing with the effects of climate change on biodiversity and we are not learning from their responses. We need to find a smart way to combine this local knowledge with formal science and scale-up.

3.    Culture plays a vital role with respect to how and who manages nature and the type of decision-making structures that govern use. Failure to understand this can undermine sustainability efforts.


Diversified and resilient funding sources


1.    Biodiversity plays a significant role in providing global public goods such as regulating climate and this international importance of Africa’s biodiversity should attract proportionate international funding.

2.    Biodiversity provides a solid foundation for livelihoods at local scales and jurisdictions and for national economies. This presents strong incentives to explore sustainable funding opportunities from companies, municipalities and individuals.

3.    A nature-based economic approach based on investments in nature-compatible enterprises can help diversify income and benefits. Supporting innovation and enabling regulations to these enterprises complemented by economic incentives and appropriate capacity building can see local entrepreneurs including youth move up the value chain.

4.    Africa will explore innovative mechanisms to mobilize domestic funding from local jurisdictions, communities and private sector. Mobilizing domestic funding is empowering and ensures ownership at the level of the jurisdiction.   

5.    Africa should be supported to mobilize significant international funding for conservation that is proportionate to Africa’s contribution to global biodiversity conservation.


Engaging the Youth


1.    Africa has the largest proportion of the youth population in the world, and by 2050, the African continent will have the largest number of young people. With such a trajectory, the youth represent Africa’s greatest opportunity in safeguarding Africa’s biodiversity and future, as both leaders and custodians.

2.    The Youth can drive sustainable use through social entrepreneurship programmes which should be supported and expanded taking advantage of the skills that youth can offer such as development of online applications to monitor the health of ecosystems.