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Beyond GDP measurements, carefully designed nature-based solutions could accelerate development and social equity – ECA’s Antonio Pedro

28 May, 2024
Beyond GDP measurements, carefully designed nature-based solutions could accelerate development and social equity – ECA’s Antonio Pedro

Nairobi, 28 May 2024 (ECA) - Nature-based solutions present a unique way for Africa to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and Agenda 2063 while contributing to the conservation of continent's rich biodiversity, promoting ecological connectivity, and enhancing climate resilience, said Antonio Pedro, Deputy Executive Secretary, the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), today at the African Natural Capital Alliance Annual Summit held in Nairobi, Kenya.

Speaking leaders in the financial markets sector, Mr. Pedro said, “With careful design of its development pathway, Africa can harness the value of its natural resources through responsible management practices that recognize planetary boundaries and balance economic growth with environmental conservation and social equity, beyond GDP metrics.”

Referencing a study by the ECA and Dalberg, Mr. Pedro said Africa could mobilize $82 billion per annum if the price of carbon reached $120 per tonne of CO2. However, there is a need to eliminate market fragmentation and invest in building high integrity carbon credit markets.

He stressed that Africa’s vast resources should drive inclusive growth, structural transformation, prosperity, and the wellbeing of its people and nations. “The vast coastline of Africa provides an opportunity for the development of the blue economy, which could generate $576 billion a year and create 127 million jobs by 2063 through research, innovation, and ecosystem management,” he said.

African Natural Capital Alliance Annual Summit was held under the theme, “Harnessing Nature for Africa's Sustainable Transformation: Building Resilience in Africa’s Financial Landscape".

Mark Napier, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Foundation for Sustainable Development (AFSD) said the continent should strategize on carbon markets to identify most ambitious opportunities in the next five years; prioritize conservation efforts to protect 50% of Africa’s mammal species by 2030.

“Countries should focus on building awareness and capacity on nature related risks and opportunities through work on disclosures, communicate the importance of nature for Africa’s sustainable development vision,” said Mr. Napier adding that it is important for countries to review the relationship between nature and Africa’s financial markets.

“There is need to have an instrument that can strengthen financial markets, create economic opportunities and protect the environment.”

Emphasizing the need for investing in regenerative agriculture and sustainable infrastructure, Elizabeth Mrema,  Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) highlighted the crucial role of indigenous people and local communities in nature stewardship and stressed the need for collective action to protect Africa’s natural capital for future generations.

“We should deepen collaboration and scale up efforts such as regenerative agriculture, nature-based solutions and sustainable infrastructure,” she said.

She noted the need to strengthen policies that incentivize green finance and penalize environmental degradation.

Olufunso Somorin, a Regional Principal Officer at the African Development Bank said African countries should redefine value and challenge agencies that drive the economy particularly on nature.

He noted the mismatch between capital and long-term investments and the need to expand the investor base beyond traditional stakeholders to unlock trillions of dollars in capital for nature related investments.

To address this, he said countries should develop policy frameworks to incentivize nature friendly investments, build new markets that value knowledge exchange and long-term relationships.

He emphasized the need to have partnerships, incentives and knowledge to drive transformation on the continent.

FSD-Africa and the ECA jointly established the ANCA in 2022, with the aim of driving multi-stakeholder initiatives that integrate the value of natural capital into economic planning and decisions and deliver nature-based solutions for Africa.

According to Mr. Pedro, “Economic development presents an important frontier for Africa to harvest its natural capital, presenting an economic paradigm that emphasizes the sustainable use of biological resources to produce goods, services, information, and energy.”

Last year, FSD-Africa and ECA jointly launched the Framework for a National Nature Strategy at COP28 to assist countries in the sustainable utilization of natural resources, scaling up financing for their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans and ensuring compliance with international regulations and national commitments.

“Through the Framework, we aim to help African countries capture national and regional growth opportunities while better understanding their nature-related risks and opportunities,” said Mr. Pedro.

Issued by:
Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826