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Ministers adopt pan-African action agenda on ecosystem restoration


African Ministers of Environment and partner organizations have committed to an ambitious agenda that addresses the interlinked challenges of biodiversity loss, land degradation and climate change.

The action agenda will accelerate commitments for ecosystem restoration and improve resilience in the region.The countries also agreed to promote continent-wide awareness and coordinated action as well as pledged to accelerate and upscale ecosystem restoration commitments and targets.

They took the decision at the African Ministerial Summit on Biodiversity held at Sharm El-Sheikh International Congress Center, Egypt under the theme “Land and ecosystem degradation and restoration: priorities for increased resilience in Africa.”

Earlier, leading scientists had in a report said that the threat to African plants, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and large mammals is unprecedented, caused by a range of both human-induced and natural causes.

The expert briefing is based on two landmark Assessment Reports on the state of biodiversity in Africa, and on global land degradation and restoration, conducted under the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).The Africa Assessment shows that, while there are positive examples where lessons can be learned, biodiversity and nature’s capacity to contribute to people are being degraded, reduced and lost due to a number of common pressures, which include habitat stress; overexploitation and unsustainable use of natural resources; air, land and water pollution; increasing numbers and impact of invasive alien species and climate change, among others.

The IPBES Africa Report reveals an estimated 20 per cent of Africa’s land surface (6.6 million km2) to be degraded because of soil erosion, salinization, pollution and loss of vegetation or soil fertility. Even greater pressure will be placed on the continent’s biodiversity as the current African population of 1.25 billion people is set to double by 2050.

Specifically, the summit brought together more than 100 delegates including over 30 ministers responsible for the environment and other sectors, six ambassadors plus other heads of delegation along with key partners.

The delegates discussed Africa’s biodiversity priorities and identified strategic actions and opportunities to upscale commitments for combating land degradation and enhancing ecosystem restoration. The Pan-African Action Agenda, endorsed by the Summit, will be submitted for adoption by the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government at its 32nd Ordinary Session in January 2019.

It is expected that the Pan-African Action Agenda will provide a strategic direction for ecosystem restoration in the region, promote continent-wide awareness and political support for restoration efforts, help to accelerate and upscale ecosystem restoration commitments and targets; and galvanize synergetic and integrated action towards the achievement of those commitments and targets.

The Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Dr. Cristiana Pașca Palmer, said: “The adoption of the African Ministerial Declaration on Biodiversity and the Pan-African Action Agenda on Ecosystem Restoration for Increased Resilience by the Summit provides an impetus for the achievement of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and will contribute to shaping a New Deal for Nature and People in 2020.”

“Your political leadership, paired with the support of the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development Agency, and the United Nations system, has elevated the importance of restoration in achieving our 2050 Vision of “living in harmony with nature”. The Secretariat of the Convention stands ready to further support this work.”

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