African Conservationists host a dialogue to spread awareness on the Kunming-Montreal GBF

African Conservationists host a dialogue to spread awareness on the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework

25 April 2023 Four months has passed since the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) was adopted in COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The framework includes four goals and 23 targets to steer the worldwide conservation agenda until 2030. Key questions following the adoption are WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?  How do we make sure that people know about this framework and ensure that it is implemented effectively?

To address these questions, The African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) alongside the Global Youth Biodiversity Network Africa Chapter (GYBN Africa) and the Africa Wildlife Foundation (AWF) have launched a campaign themed FROM PAPER TO ACTION: YOUTH BUILDING BACK BIODIVERSITY to raise awareness about the COP 15 outcomes and inspire different stakeholders to do their part in implementing the Kunming-Montreal GBF. Among the strategies to accomplish the main objective is to publish a series of infographics and videos that summarize the GBF and discuss a number of targets in webinars.

The first webinar of a series was titled "Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework: Why it Matters for Africa and What Is Critical for Implementation?." It was hosted on 20 April featuring Lucy Mulenkei (co-chair of International Indigenous Forum for Biodiversity- an IPLCs constituency in the CBD) and David Obura (Executive Director of CORDIO East Africa- a renowned marine scientist). This webinar was focused on raising awareness on the Kunming-Montreal Global target 2 (Ecosystem Restoration) and Target 3 (Area Based Conservation), unpack issues for consideration in implementing the above-mentioned targets and encourage youth and CSOs to engage in National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAP) processes

Both targets are crucial in addressing the leading cause of biodiversity loss, which is land and sea use change. They are even more critical for Africa, a developing continent where development priorities are competing for space with conservation priorities. Moderating the discussion, Dr Yemi Katerere (ACBA’s coordinator), emphasized that while both targets are important, they are not superior to the other 21 targets and hence the need for all targets to be implemented holistically.

David Obura outlined the importance of the Kunming-Montreal GBF to Africa’s conservation and development agenda, emphasizing the necessity to change from linear to circular models of production and consumption in order to solve our development pathways. He acknowledged the fact that there was recognition of indigenous territories in target 2 and 3 which is a significant shift from the traditional government-managed conservation areas.

He pointed out the need to find a bridge between nature and people, emphasizing the space for the right level of consultation to find the balance. He stated that scientists will play a crucial role in the implementation of the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, among other things, they will help to evaluate the benefits of biodiversity to people, investigate how monetary advantages may be derived from biodiversity and broadly in tracking progress in implementation.

“In past Global Biodiversity Frameworks, some communities felt left behind, which led to their failure. The Kunming-Montreal GBF represents a paradigm change by acknowledging that conservation takes place primarily on indigenous territories and clearly stating the role of IPLCs in conservation." Said Lucy Mulenkei. She further emphasized the importance of continuing to hold discussions at the local and national levels, involving various stakeholders to shape the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs). “The framework should aid in the resolution of historical land disputes”, she added. 

She acknowledged that access and benefit-sharing, Digital sequence information (DSI), Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), area-based conservation (i.e. 30*30), and human rights issues were topics of concern for IPLCs throughout the framework's development and hence the need to follow them closely during implementation.

In closing, Lucy addressed the frequently debated topic of financial resources, stating that when implementation initiatives are funded, it is critical that the funding be provided directly to IPLCs to enable them to carry out conservation on the ground. Both speakers complimented each other on the role and complementarity of science and traditional knowledge in addressing biodiversity loss.

The full recording of the webinar can be accessed here and all other campaign materials can be accessed here.