Pan-African nature conservation fund unveiled


African leaders have launched an initiative to help finance the continent's conservation areas.

The plan, dubbed A Pan-African Conservation Trust (A-Pact), was unveiled in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, during this week's first-ever continent-wide gathering on protected areas.

Lion is listed as Vulnerable by IUCN (Kevin Pluck).

Speaking at the Africa Protected Areas Congress (Apac), former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Africa needed more investment for the more than 8,600 protected and conserved areas.

"Designed as a complement to the existing financing mechanisms supporting African protected areas, A-Pact is an African-led continental scale solution to mobilising significant public, private and philanthropic funding into protected and conserved areas across all 54 countries," he said at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) event.

Mr Hailemariam, who is the chair of Apac's steering committee, noted that there was a global funding gap of $700bn (£585bn) to help stop biodiversity loss and restore natural systems, while Africa needed $7bn to successfully manage protected areas.

It was a sentiment reiterated by Africa Wildlife Foundation CEO Kaddu Sebunya. "To be successful in beating extinction and postponing its inevitability, we will need strong alliances that bring different sectors together if we are to overcome the challenges of wildlife protection and conservation and save the future of our planet," said Mr Sebunya.

WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini said A-Pact fitted "into the broader challenge and opportunity to finally provide, particularly the global south, with the right financial resources to halt and reverse nature loss".