A new initiative to forge a new deal for tourism, rural communities and wildlife by 2030
A WILDLIFE ECONOMY
Africa is a future global economic growth engine. But this growth faces challenges, particularly the degradation of nature and people-wildlife conflict. Loss of nature is not only a conservation crisis. It is also a human crisis. When managed correctly, habitat and wildlife are critical resources that contribute to the economic and social health of communities, nations and the planet. Conversely, the loss of habitat created by growing economies and increasing populations has devastating effects on human welfare and on economies. This Initiative has been created to address that imbalance.
A CALL TO ACTION
H.E. President Paul Kagame, during his time as Chair of the African Union, approached UN Environment to together develop a response for this issue. Consequently, the African Union and UN Environment are now jointly launching the Wildlife Economy Initiative.
This aims to help fulfil the vision that President Kagame gave to African Union leaders of the key importance of conservation to the continent’s successful future, saying; “Africans need to take the lead, in partnership with like-minded global organisations, in the conservation agenda on our continent, because it affects all of us directly. Driving conservation will allow us to get the most out of our continent’s assets, contribute to better management of our agriculture and tourism sectors, and support efforts to mitigate climate change.”
A NEW VISION FOR AFRICA
In response to President Kagame’s call, the African Union and UN Environment are to unite political and community leadership, private sector know-how and financial resources for a new vision of pan-African conservation that will deliver sustainable economic benefit to nation states and local communities. Supported by Space for Giants through its Giants Club initiative, the initiative will work to develop the true value of nature and the role it can play in the well-being of citizens.
HOW THIS WILL BE ACHIEVED
Political leaders from across Africa are now invited to gather from 24 to 25 June 2019 at one of Africa’s most iconic tourism locations: Victoria Falls. Staged in one of Africa’s most important landscapes, the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area, this inaugural summit of the Wildlife Economy Initiative will help set the African continent on a new path to improve the prospects for both people and wildlife. The major commitments and projects developed, as well as the workshops and symposiums that follow, will then report to H.E. President Kagame at a subsequent event to be staged in Rwanda in the next crucial phase in the progress of this Initiative.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE
Communities for Conservation
Livelihoods related to the appreciation of wildlife and biodiversity that provide solutions for reducing poverty and provide jobs amongst rural communities must be expanded, and people empowered to be meaningful and effective partners in the growing and measurable economic opportunities.
Harnessing Conservation Tourism
A key opportunity for making wildlife a legitimate and effective land use option in Africa is tourism. This Initiative will contribute to making conservation profitable and sustainable by unlocking financing and partnerships through enabling responsible investors to help build a ‘nature-based economy’.
Supporting Governments By gaining conservation-enabling investment, governments can generate opportunities to create jobs, national wealth and to secure wildlife for the future. To attract this investment the right operating environment needs to be in place and experts will work with governments on how to deliver this.
A New Deal: The Wildlife Economy
Where are the next frontiers for conservation tourism?
How can communities benefit from conservation-enabling investment?
What encourages responsible private-sector engagement?
These, and other questions, will be addressed for how Africa’s conservation assets can be a resource for all.
THE VICTORIA FALLS EVENT
In addition to the formal programme, excursions and gala evening events will be staged for delegates. It will include the delivery of The Giants Club Conservation Investment Toolkit detailing the financial opportunities that nation states can unlock through encouraging conservation-enabling investment.