By Samuel Ouma
WWF Africa, on July 21, 2022, launched its “Strategic Plan for Africa: 2021 – 2025” – a call to move beyond business as usual and make nature everyone’s business.
The launch occurred at the Africa Protected Areas Congress – APAC, at the Kigali Conference Centre in Rwanda.
This strategic plan fits with the objective of the Africa Protected Areas Congress – taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, this week – to position Africa’s protected and conserved areas within the broader goals of economic development and community wellbeing.
According to the WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini, APAC presents Africa with a unique opportunity to bring everyone together to reconnect after what seems like far too long in isolation – to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of protected and conserved area conservation in Africa and make progress towards a collective vision and a clear way forward.
“WWF’s new Africa strategy – nested in WWF’s global conservation strategy – provides a framework for strengthening how we work together in the region, both within WWF and in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, from governments to businesses and investors, organized civil society, youth, Indigenous Peoples and local communities,” said Lambertini.
WWF Africa’s new strategic plan provides a framework for consolidating the organization’s work in the region and leveraging the outcomes of the critical APAC conference to strengthen conservation in Africa.
The two impact areas of this strategy – are Shared Space, which ensures co-existence between people and nature, and Making Nature Everyone’s Business.
“The urgency of sustainably meeting people’s and the planet’s needs has never been greater. Both are facing enormous pressures and hold significant promise too. But these pressures cannot be overcome, or these promises are realized by one person or organization alone.
We must embrace these challenges and opportunities together – with diversity as our strength – a collection of voices across communities, countries, sectors, and political perspectives coming together as one voice for people and the planet,” said Alice Ruhweza, WWF Africa Region Director.
Building on WWF’s work at country, landscape, regional and global levels, WWF’s strategy leverages the power of people to transform lives and landscapes.
This will be realized by ensuring coexistence in shared spaces, transforming Africa’s balance sheet, and an integrated and inclusive whole-of-society approach.
WWF commits to creating space for genuine discussion and learning, reaching across boundaries to ensure voices are heard, strengthening our partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities (IPLCs), the private sector, governments, and civil society, and implementing robust environmental and social safeguarding frameworks.
“There is hope. Today there is unprecedented interest in nature. Individuals, communities, and governments are coming together across Africa to achieve net zero and reverse biodiversity loss. To build a better future for Africa,” added Ruhuwez.
“The challenges and opportunities for conservation in Africa – at scale – have never been greater.”