If you joined our webinar on 17th June, you will have heard Ulrike Troeger from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research talk about the "Green Values" project, which aims to highlight the multiple values of protected areas in Africa for development and prosperity. This post summarises the project concept note in more detail, which is available to download at the end of this post.
Project background The demands on protected areas today are more diverse than ever: they do not only protect species, preserve habitats and conserve ecosystems, but also provide public goods and ecosystem services such as water retention and purification, erosion control, local climate stability and carbon storage, pest and disease control, protection from extreme weather events and habitats for pollinators. Protected areas thus make significant contributions to functioning landscapes and to achieving national and global development goals such as water and food security, economic development and livelihoods, public health and combatting global warming.
Through their contributions to human well-being and economic development, protected areas are an important, yet heavily underrated, constituent of the natural capital asset base of African countries. Their socio-economic importance is usually not reflected in decision-making. Often, their high value only becomes tangible after their destruction: e.g. in the event of water scarcity and harvest slumps after deforestation or increased flood damage after loss of a protective mangrove belt. At the same time, protected areas in Africa face fast-growing threats and conflicts between humans and nature due to short-term development ambitions. Population growth, land use change, overuse of natural re- sources and poaching will likely further impact the ecological integrity of protected areas.
This becomes even more topical with the approaching Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) COP 15 in 2021, where the parties need to adopt ambitious targets for the next decade to halt the loss of biodiversity. It is in this context that the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) initiated the Green Value Initiative implemented by GIZ in collaboration with partners such as the Helmholtz-Centre for Environmental Research and WWF Germany.
The Green Value Initiative highlights the multiple values of protected areas in Africa for development and prosperity. It aims to raise awareness for the necessity to maintain them and invest in them as important assets of Africa’s natural capital among decision-makers and the public at large. Green Value therewith contributes to the discussion and negotiation of the new global biodiversity framework developed under the CBD.
Flagship report: The Green Value Initiative will produce the “Africa’s Protected Natural Assets Report” in close collaboration with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research and additional scientific partners. The report looks at state, trends and scenarios of Africa’s protected natural as- sets, highlights the values of these conservation areas for key economic sectors and policy areas and provides policy recommendations for the international biodiversity community as well as na- tional and local decision-makers. It integrates Africa-wide analyses with evidence from case studies carried out in selected Green Value partner countries in Africa synthesising existing evidence with own analyses from remote sensing, modelling and scenario analysis. As part of the report, the evidence will be translated into a natural capital narrative that brings across the interdependencies between conservation areas, natural assets and development. With this narrative Green Value contributes to communicating towards a paradigm shift to harmonise biodiversity conservation with development.
Case study processes: The initiative collaborates with six African partner countries to carry out natural capital / ecosystem services assessments in selected conservation areas. The assess- ments serve to both gather evidence for the Green Value report and to leverage policy ambition and action on the ground. Case studies are carried out as participatory and inclusive processes that are guided by integrating stakeholder views from national and local level, from policy, civil society, business and science to ensure policy relevance and uptake.
Communicate findings and messages: Green Value communicates its evidence and natural cap- ital narrative, its messages and recommendations for conserving nature and the importance of recognizing the value of natural capital through the Green Value report, at international events and meetings such as the IUCN World Conservation Congress and possibly a group of like-minded partners that will lever international visibility towards the CBD post-2020 process and beyond.
For questions about the project, or if you think it might complement some of your own work, contact Nina Bisom, GIZ. Email address in included in this document: