Thursday, February 29, 2024

Benchmarking: What Africa can learn from China’s latest plan on biodiversity protection


Reflecting on China’s recent strategy and action plan for biodiversity conservation, there are several valuable lessons that African countries can draw from. The ambition to restore at least 30 percent of degraded ecosystems by 2030 sets a clear, measurable target that African nations can also aim for, adapting it to their unique contexts. 

China’s approach, encompassing both control measures and incentives, offers a comprehensive model for biodiversity conservation. African countries, rich in biodiversity but facing similar degradation challenges, can learn from this. Creating a balanced strategy that includes both protective measures and incentives for conservation is crucial. 

For instance, African nations can adopt a systematic approach to conserving their unique ecosystems, similar to how China is addressing the functional degradation of its grasslands, rivers, wetlands, and lakes. This involves not only implementing protective regulations but also actively restoring and managing these ecosystems. 

Read also: Sustainable supply chains; Ensuring biodiversity conservation

The emphasis on ecological compensation is another key takeaway. African countries, many of which host crucial biodiversity hotspots, can develop mechanisms to economically support regions that provide vital ecological functions. This could mean compensating communities in areas like the Congo Basin or the Serengeti for their role in maintaining these ecosystems, thereby aligning economic interests with environmental preservation. 

Enhancing biodiversity surveying and monitoring is another area where African nations can focus. Regular assessment of key ecosystems, species, and genetic resources is vital for informed decision-making. This can be achieved by investing in scientific research and adopting technologies for efficient monitoring of biodiversity. 

From the same author :There is need to translate biodiversity pledges into tangible action plans

China’s commitment to holding enterprises accountable for biodiversity conservation is a significant step. African countries can also work towards legislating and enforcing corporate responsibility in biodiversity conservation. This would involve not only monitoring the impact of key enterprises on biodiversity but also promoting sustainable practices. 

The concept of making it mandatory for entities to compensate for ecological damage they cause can be a powerful tool in Africa. This ensures that those who benefit from natural resources also bear the responsibility for their conservation. 

China’s proactive and multi-faceted approach to biodiversity conservation offers a blueprint that African nations can adapt to their contexts. By integrating protective measures, economic incentives, scientific monitoring, corporate responsibility, and compensatory mechanisms, African countries can make significant strides in preserving their rich biodiversity for future generations.  

Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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