15 Sep 2015

Unique opportunity for Africa to lead the way with sustainable development by valuing nature

By Obaka Torto

First-of-its-kind forum in Ghana will advance inclusive development for nature, people and business

BirdLife is holding the first ever Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum (PABBF) in Ghana on the 9-10th October 2015. This is a unique and very exciting opportunity for conservation, business and sustainable development in Africa that brings private, public and civil sectors to the same stage to have their say about the value of nature in African development. The forum aims to promote increased sustainability within Africa’s development agenda through mainstreaming of natural capital, and improved public-private-civil society cooperation.

PABBF is organised by BirdLife International in collaboration with: Government of Ghana, WBCSD, African Development Bank, World BankPACCI, United Nations (CBDECAUNEP-WCMCUNEP), IUCNACTSTBCICMMFARAACTSAGRAWWFCCA.

What is natural capital and why is it important?
It is difficult to comprehend the immense value of nature – the Earth’s natural assets (soil, water, air, solar energy, minerals, fossil fuels, living organisms) and the combined and interconnected services that result from them (crop pollination, water purification, carbon storage, waste recycling, food, disease control, health, recreation) are essential to all life and business worldwide. Thinking in terms of natural capital helps us understand nature’s ecosystem goods and services that are worth trillions of US dollars per year, and which underpin productivity and the global economy. Important? You could say that nothing else is more important!

Why Africa?
Africa is uniquely endowed with vast natural capital, much unexploited…for now.

Despite being fundamental to our wellbeing, the daily-use of nature's services remains almost undetected within our economic system. Using natural capital this way is not sustainable.

Africa is in the unique position to be a world-leader in sustainable development and mainstreaming natural capital into development planning and business.

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This is a chance to learn from others' mistakes and to lead the way for Africa in the sustainable development of its natural resources.

This forum aims to advance inclusive development that values natural capital in Africa - for Africans.

Be part of Africa's sustainable future.

Let's do it properly and sustainably from the beginning and  show the world.

First of its kind in Africa!
The world is changing. The importance of natural capital is increasingly recognised worldwide, for example by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (whose Executive Secretary will be present), and increasingly required for business' licenses to operate. The Pan-African Business & Biodiversity Forum (PABBF) is proud to be on the forefront of this movement in Africa. The partnerships between public, private and civil sectors formed at the forum in Ghana will be promoted as pioneering for Africa as natural capital is mainstreamed.

A level playing field
Civil society, businesses, government, international conventions are all coming together in this unique opportunity.

Outcomes from the forum sessions will be incorporated into the drafting of natural capital protocol that will be launched in 2016.

Why Ghana?
Every sector is represented- from extractives to agriculture to energy.

Ghana has a good track record of private-public partnerships to draw from.

Forum themed sessions will focus on:

  • Extractive Industries

    ©Harmony Foundation

    Major contributor to GDP in many African countries.

    Business-nature partnerships will be signed and showcased at the forum.

  • Energy-Nature Nexus

    ©Water-energy-food nexus

    Huge possibilities for partnerships.

    Energy development need not cost the earth.

  • Sustainable Agriculture

    ©Darron Raw

    Major contributor to GDP in many African countries.

    Africa opportunity to lead the way with the growth of sustainable smallholders.

  • Natural Capital Accounting


    How to value nature for your business? How to ensure nature is not sold short?

    Mainstreaming the outcomes of this session will be drafted into the natural capital protocol to be launched in 2016 -  have your say!

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