The NaturAfrica initiative supports biodiversity conservation in Africa through an innovative, people-centred approach. It identifies key landscapes for conservation and development where the EU will focus its support to create jobs, improve security and sustainable livelihoods, while preserving the ecosystems and wildlife that are vital to all.
EU delegations will define and implement NaturAfrica programmes after wide consultation and in agreement with all partners and experts working in the field: national and regional government, local communities, civil society and the private sector. Working with indigenous communities and women will be at the heart of the NaturAfrica approach.
Priority will be given to development actions in key landscapes identified in the document, 'Larger than elephants;, and support will be structured around 2 pillars.
1. In the short term, it will develop actions in key landscapes for conservation and development, building on the positive benefits that protected areas bring to society and the economy, encouraging networks of protected areas and knowledge-sharing.
2. In the medium term, it will extend support beyond key landscapes to address the root causes of biodiversity loss and environmental degradation and integrate these concerns into other sectors (‘mainstreaming biodiversity’).
Why do we need NaturAfrica?
Africa relies heavily on its natural resources, but due to a low resource-productivity ratio its resources are being severely depleted, with worrying impacts for food security, jobs, health and climate resilience. The African Union has acknowledged the need for a sustainable use of the natural resources and identified biodiversity depletion, together with illegal exploitation and trade, as a key challenge for the continent.
The EU is committed to supporting Africa with its transition to a green economy and to cooperation on the environment (EU-Africa Strategy).
The 'Green Deal' approach to supporting biodiversity conservation
NaturAfrica is fully aligned with the European Green Deal, which identifies climate change and environmental degradation as an existential threat to Europe and the world. The Green Deal emphasises the need to decouple economic growth from resource use and provides a mandate to step up the integration of environment and climate change objectives, in particular on biodiversity, forests, oceans and soil in EU-supported policies, plans and investments across all sectors of cooperation.
NaturAfrica contributes to EU global commitments on biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity, including to preserve ecosystems, fight wildlife crime and increase financial flows to developing countries for global biodiversity protection.