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Nature recovery: Why biodiversity matters for Madagascar

The integration of Agenda 2063 (The Africa we Want) goals and Sustainable Development Goals into the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is crucial to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that enhances human well-being and development outcomes in Africa.

By Laurent Some, Victor Nyambok, Innocent Maloba and Durrel Halleson

The upcoming United Nations United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, COP15 (which stands for Conference of the Parties) hosted by China will be part of a historic opportunity to address ecological challenges facing our planet. It presents a chance for world leaders to review the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to draw a blueprint for biodiversity conservation in the next 10 years.
 
This week, the first part of CBD COP15 meeting will see countries discussing the issues surrounding nature crisis and how to tackle it. A momentous occasion for all countries to come together to agree a plan to set nature in recovery, for a nature-positive world by 2030.
 
The final global biodiversity agreement is scheduled to be adopted by world leaders in Kunming, China, in April-May next year, in the concluding part of COP15.

Nature is in crisis?

Yes! We are losing nature at a rate never seen before, as is clear from WWF’s Living Planet Report (LPR), which found that population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have seen an alarming average decline of 68% since 1970. This cannot continue! We must stop destroying our natural world and instead restore the biodiversity we all depend on.
 
For Africa, the LPR reports an alarming 65% decline in population sizes of mammals, fish, amphibians and reptiles.
 
These declines are largely driven by increasing demand on natural resources to support a growing population and global patterns of unsustainable consumption and production that lead to widespread habitat loss (45.9%), over exploitation of species (35.5%), and invasive species and disease (11.6%).
 
The impacts of these drivers will be magnified through globalization and intensified under climate change. 
 
But why is biodiversity so important?
 
Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth.
 
Biodiversity and nature’s contributions in Africa are economically, socially and culturally important, essential in providing the continent’s food, water, energy, health and secure livelihood, and represent a strategic asset for sustainable development and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
 
We are part of this huge biological web of natural organisms, which includes everything from the tiny microorganisms that live in the soil to the iconic elephants or pandas we seek to protect.
 
The total biodiversity of our planet is immense, which is a good thing because diversity means more resilient, and healthy, ecosystems.
 
Many people today are distanced from nature and its life-giving benefits. But the reality is that the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat all ultimately rely on biodiversity.
 
Biodiversity sustains us and is the building blocks of healthy, resilient and happy societies. We must maintain this vital source of life.
 
How is biodiversity sustaining me?
 
We see biodiversity every day. Some examples are plants: without our leafy friends there would be no oxygen. Tall trees and large swathes of lush forests and rainforests, like those in the Amazon, help stabilise the climate, playing a critical role in carbon and water cycles.
 
Unknown territories - mangroves in Madagascar
 
There are also less known benefits of biodiversity - things like coral reefs and mangrove swamps provide invaluable protection from cyclones and tsunamis for people living on coasts, while trees can absorb air pollution in urban areas.
 
These environments are also home to some of the most incredible species: in Madagascar, mangroves (small trees growing in coastal areas) provide shelter for crabs and shrimps and homes or food for birds, sea turtles and dugongs, an endangered marine sea mammal.
 
This amazing biological diversity and the benefits it provides is why leaders around the world are taking part in global meetings to protect nature and biodiversity. Join us in calling for them to secure a strong biodiversity agreement next year that reverses nature loss and delivers a sustainable future for both us and the planet! . Find out more about COP15 link
 
Africa policy commitments towards COP 15
 
WWF welcomes the progressive work of the African Group of Negotiators on Biodiversity towards the development of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework for adoption at the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
 
At its recently concluded 18th ordinary meeting, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) called for ways to promote a biodiversity economy that can provide economic incentives to overcome the drivers of biodiversity loss, and supports sustainable livelihoods, business. They also stressed that mainstreaming is an essential tool for unlocking the necessary scale of investment in biodiversity in Africa.
 
The integration of Agenda 2063 (The Africa we Want) goals and Sustainable Development Goals into the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) is crucial to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity that enhances human well-being and development outcomes in Africa.
 
For the rest of the world, the opening of COP15 is a critical opportunity for China, taking on the CBD COP15 presidency, to lead and inspire world leaders to show political will to reverse biodiversity loss towards a nature positive world by 2030.