NAIROBI, Aug 14 (Swara) – Formed in February 2020, the African CSO Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) provides a platform for African civil society organisations (CSOs) to speak with one voice on issues of sustainable use of the services and products provided by the natural world.

As the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (C0P 15) approaches and the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) takes shape, the African Protected Areas Congress that was held in the Rwanda capital, Kigali from July 18 to 23 was an opportune moment for ACBA to reflect on how it engages throughout African countries between now and 2030.

ACBA membership is made up of national NGOs and CSO networks, community-based organisations (CBOs), youth networks and individual experts that share ACBA’s vision and values. A member must be an African-based NGO/CBO or an individual working in the area of biodiversity rights, community resilience, policy and advocacy.

To date, the African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA) has a membership of more than 80 African CSOs with representation from the five sub-regions in the continent — Northern Africa, Central or Middle Africa, Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Western Africa. The members are involved in a diverse range of activities in the environment and conservation sector that include research, advocacy and implementing activities on the ground. Their interests are both terrestrial and marine and cover thematic areas such as forests, climate change, biodiversity conservation and the rights of Indigenous People and Local Communities (IPLCs) and peasant farmers.

The three main objectives of ACBA are to influence national, regional and global policy frameworks to enhance biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Africa, and to strengthen the ability of African CSO Biodiversity Alliance members to become effective and efficient to deliver sustainable use of biodiversity through organisational development and to identify and design sustainable financing mechanisms to support African CSO initiatives.

The Africa CSOs Biodiversity Alliance developed a 10-year strategic plan which was launched in July at the African Protected Area Congress in Kigali. The strategic plan carefully navigates the challenges of developing a plan for a geographically and thematically diverse network that is united in its desire to sustainably manage and use biodiversity. The plan speaks differently to different members because of this diversity.

In Kigali, ACBA signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF), which also believes in the Alliance’s vision and values. AWF has in the past provided critical funding and technical support that has enabled the coordination of ACBA’s activities as well as its active participation at key conservation events.

“This Memorandum of Understanding is a game changer in the field of biodiversity conservation and we must therefore be very proud of this defining moment in the history of pan-African conservation,” said Kaddu Sebunya, CEO, African Wildlife Foundation at the signing of the MoU.