Focus on value of biodiversity, experts urge African countries

24Jul 2020
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Focus on value of biodiversity, experts urge African countries

​​​​​​​AFRICAN governments have been challenged to base their financial decisions on the value of biodiversity.

Africa regional director of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Alice Ruhweza.

Experts on biodiversity, economics and conservation from across the globe made the call on Wednesday when speaking during a virtual meeting.

They observed that ecosystem services have always been underestimated given that the country's economic indicators often capture only goods and services with monetary value.

The experts observed that despite the general recognition of the importance of nature, this is not effectively captured in the fiscal policies, particularly the low budgets given to the environmental and natural resources sector.

Africa regional director of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Alice Ruhweza, said that nature is an important asset that is a solution to fixing problems in the environment, human, food and animal systems and called on governments to make biodiversity relevant to the people whose lives are to be changed.

He said that the economic potential of gains from biodiversity preservation needs to be factored in ecosystem valuation.

Philip Osano, acting director of Stockholm Environmental Institute (SEI) Africa Centre said noted that governments require informed policies and actions in the economic and financial sectors in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Kenya’s Principal Secretary at the National Treasury John Muia, said that Kenya has over the last decade increased budgetary allocation significantly to support biodiversity conservation hotspots.

"We have developed economic incentives for nature conservation and the undertaking of natural accounting for the valuation of ecosystem services such as afforestation, water harvesting, and conservation measures," he added.

Abebe Haile-Gabriel, assistant director-general and regional representative for Africa, Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) called on governments to empower populations to take conservation and management of biodiversity seriously.

"FAO has data that can be used by African governments to restructure the management and be able to benefit immensely from the natural biodiversity," he added.

The experts called on governments to consider the value rural populations attach to resources in addition to the economic value realized at national and global levels.

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