Global trade and economic growth over the last half century have driven huge improvements in health and living standards but also undermined the stability of the Earth’s natural systems and exacerbated global inequality. The 2020 Living Planet Index shows that global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish have suffered an average 68% decline in less than half a century (from 1970 to 2016). The main cause of this dramatic decline is habitat loss and degradation, including deforestation, driven by how we as humanity produce food. Nature powers industry and enterprise but we are using up ‘natural capital’ and degrading natural systems faster than nature can replenish and restore them, exceeding Earth’s overall bio capacity by 58% according to Ecological Foot printing.
According to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2020, the top five most pressing challenges facing Africa and the world over the next decade are, for the first time, all related to the environment, and include biodiversity loss and climate change. Failure to tackle nature’s decline will increase nature-related risks, further disrupt supply chains, threaten global food security, and cost the global economy at least $479 billion a year – amounting to $10 trillion by 2050. Our economies are embedded within nature but economics do not recognize that human health, wealth and security depend on safeguarding environmental health, according to the forthcoming Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity. The 2030 Agenda is rooted in the idea that human development and well-being cannot be achieved without simultaneously safeguarding and investing in nature and managing disaster risk in a systemic manner – otherwise development gains will be short-lived and unevenly distributed.
Despite its challenges, the year 2020 represented a turning point that must be understood by the youth and civil society as an opportunity to speak out on three fronts and act for the changes they wish to see in the system. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 and recently, its variances represent the latest in an unfortunately growing list of disasters confronting humanity. The COVID-19 pandemic in Africa and the world is not only a challenge for global health systems, but also a test of our human spirit. Its social and economic impacts have been creating a global crisis unparalleled in the history of the United Nations—and one which requires a whole-of-society response to match its sheer scale and complexity.
In 2020, under the leadership of African network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development which has set the New Deal for Nature and People Coalition, African youths and civil society organizations have drafted and started the implementation of two regional position papers on COVID19 and pandemics and towards a strong post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework for a green growth resumption in Africa and in the world. Among key recommandations formulated by youths and civil society, we can highlight:
- the necessity of the iinvolvement and engagement of Governments in a New Deal for Nature and People as a globally binding agreement to halve our footprint on nature; stop the loss of natural habitats and to top the extinction of living species;
- the mainstreaming of young people-championed elements from a gender perspective in the Post-2020 Framework focusing on intergenerational equity, human rights and the rights of nature, transformative education and the promotion of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament;
- the importance of strengthened multilateralism: Develop a whole -of-society coordinated approach and accelerate implementation of the “New Way of Working” mobilizing all the stakeholders and taking into account all the layers and sectors in the implementation of innovative measures at different levels;
- the imperative of more synergies and alignment between the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework with other biodiversity-related multilateral agreements, processes and instruments (UNCCD, UNFCC; Ramsar; Future BBNJ, CITES etc.) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to enable the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework systematically cross-maps its goals and targets and seeks to reinforce synergies in implementation and enabling conditions;
- The urgency to greening the financial sector (economics of biodiversity) – integrating environmental issues to support the post 2020 implementation framework and enabling conditions for resilience and transformative change;
- High level leadership and a whole-of-government approach mobilizing all the layers of the society including private sector and civil society towards a Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework based on transparency, accountability monitoring and reporting.
African youths are disproportionately affected by environmental issues plaguing the continent: Desertification, pollution, erosion, overexploitation of natural resources such as forest and water, among others hampers prosperity and economic development. Addressing the aforementioned challenges requires the involvement of youths who are key players for the implementation of the recommendations (embedded in the regional position papers) they have drafted as part of the New Deal for Nature and People Coalition. Youth and Civil Society have a role in transiting from unwitting perpetrators of environmental degradation to custodians of natural capital. Such a changeover will potentially result in sustainability benefits like green jobs and contribute to ensure the future of Next generations. To this effect, the New Deal for Nature and People Coalition led by African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development launches the New Deal for Nature and People campaign
New Deal for Nature and People Campaign
The New Deal for Nature and People Campaign is an advocacy digital campaign implemented by the New Deal for Nature and People Coalition (constituted of children, youth, women coming from several sectors as civil society, media, local elected, business, indigenous people, refugees, IDPs and startups) led by African Network of Young Leaders for Peace and Sustainable Development as part of the implementation of the (1) African youth and civil society declaration Against COVI19 and pandemics for a green growth resumption in Africa and in the world and the (2) African Youth and Civil Society Position paper on the Post 2020 biodiversity framework.
Youths and civil society will be leveraging on several community (online) platforms (Zoom, YouTube, twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram….) and disseminating advocacy messages and contents (through various tools and materials) aiming at raising awareness on the Nature Positive vision focusing on key recommendations of the position papers they have elaborated. This campaign will be implemented all through the year 2021.
Kindly join the campaign using the following Hashtags*