ALCRL research fellow contributes to African debate on natural capital

Posted on November 20, 2015

Businesses, governments, civil society, academia, development organisations and financial institutions from across Africa gathered in Senchi, Ghana, on 9 and 10 October 2015 to exchange ideas and practices at the first Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum.  The Forum initiated constructive dialogue in four thematic areas, namely extractive industries, sustainable agriculture, energy-nature nexus, and natural capital accounting to advance an inclusive development that values natural capital in Africa and for Africans. 

Dr Joël Houdet, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Pretoria's Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (ALCRL), lead the session on natural capital accounting and co-hosted the extractive industries session. He also contributed to the Senchi Statement.

Natural capital ― biodiversity and ecosystem services ― underpins all life forms and business operations worldwide. Africa is uniquely endowed with vast and varied natural capital, perhaps capable of resourcing twice its current human population. However, the economic realities of most Africa countries, characterised by increasing poverty and degradation of the natural capital, suggest otherwise. The sustainability of businesses is threatened by poor consideration of natural capital in policy processes and development planning.

Participants at the Pan-African Business and Biodiversity Forum examined numerous issues of relevance to the business-biodiversity interface, including topics of specific relevance to the agricultural and extractive sectors, as well as discussions concerning natural capital accounting and the challenges of sustainable renewable energy.  This meeting took place as part of ongoing global exchanges relating to the challenges of sustainable development and the importance of conserving our natural environment so as to ensure a prosperous and viable future for Africa and beyond.

Furthermore, the Forum promoted much needed intra- and intersectoral collaborations among key stakeholders, such as companies, government, civil society, the finance sector and development institutions, towards enhanced regional integration for Africa’s development. 

A road map for the establishment of national and sub-regional business and biodiversity networks was launched at the Forum. These networks will inform frameworks for multisectoral collaborations, building on existing partnerships at regional, national and international level.


- Author Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership

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