Kampala – The Africa Natural Capital Accounting Community of Practice was, on Thursday, July 2, launched at the ‘African Forum on Green Economy: Investing in Natural Capital for a Resilient Africa’ conference.
The community of practice is a regional learning and knowledge platform that brings together professionals from governments institutions, non-governmental organizations and academia that are interested in or working on natural capital accounting (NCA) in Africa.
The Africa Natural Capital Accounting Community of Practice will build momentum and mainstream natural capital accounting in statistical production and policy across Africa through capacity building and knowledge sharing between government institutions, nongovernmental organizations and academia.
This is an essential next step in unifying stakeholders around a shared ambition and in driving tangible commitments and actions to accelerate the uptake of the natural capital approach.
Following the first African Forum on Natural Capital Accounting held in Kampala, Uganda on November 21, 2019, participants from 18 African countries expressed unanimous support for the creation of a Community of Practice on Natural Capital Accounting in Africa.
Responding to this demand, the World Bank’s Global Program on Sustainability, the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa, the United Nations Statistics Division, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and the United Nations Environment Programme and together with the support of the European Commission committed to provide support to start this community.
“This is a very timely initiative as it comes at the onset of the continent embracing the concept of natural capital accounting and its application to policy. This community would deliver a number of valuable outcomes including identifying and spreading best practices, laying a strong foundation for the future generation of policy makers, and strengthening the capability of institutions across the continent on natural capital accounting,” said Dr. Tom Okurut, Executive Director of the Uganda National Environment Management Authority, at the inception event in Kampala, Uganda.
The community of practice intends to hold regular meetings at regional and international fora; promote best practice; produce joint communications including case studies; share experiences through south-south exchanges and joint trainings; and build technical expertise through themed working groups, among other activities like a moderated WhatsApp group and monthly webinar series.
Anyone with an interest in natural capital accounting in Africa can sign up through the community of practice website to join. Over 300 people from 39 different African countries have already signed up. The Africa Natural Capital Accounting Community of Practice also welcomes new partnerships that align with ongoing initiatives both in Africa and at the global level.
“The COVID-19 pandemic underscores strong links between human and planetary health, making the valuation of natural capital and ecosystem services more important than ever. As we monitor the evolving impact, the Global Program on Sustainability is looking at ways in which we can contribute to address the challenge,” said Raffaello Cervigni of the World Bank Global Program on Sustainability.
“This regional community of practice can be an effective mechanism to scale up efforts to support countries in undertaking a more systematic look at natural resources to inform their national strategies, deal with biodiversity loss and climate change, and to support post-COVID recovery.”
“This regional community of practice provides the space for African countries to learn about advances in Natural Capital Accounting, to share experiences in implementation, and increase momentum for continental adoption. Conservation International is committed to supporting such an effort, and to work with participants on how accounting for nature’s benefits can inform a range of development policies and frameworks including the post-2020 biodiversity framework and the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Rosimeiry Portela, Senior Director at Conservation International.
“We are delighted with the establishment of the NCA Community of Practice. It is truly a dream come true. The partnerships underpinning the community show robust commitment by all partners and the interest shown by so many NCA practitioners, policy makers, NGOs and Government institutions has been most inspiring indeed,” said Ruud Jansen, Executive Secretary of the Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa Secretariat.
“The GDSA Secretariat is committed to support the activities of the COP in an effort to further sustain the coming of age of NCA in Africa.”