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African CSOs Intensifies Campaign On Covid-19 Effect On Wildlife Trade Policies

The African Wildlife Foundation, AWF, an alliance of over 80 African CSOs working in conservation, as the African CSOs Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA), will on Wednesday, September 17, 2020 intensify its campaign for a better world that continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nela Duke-Ekpenyong, Chief Executive Officer, Obudu Conservation Centre (OCC)

The online session titled ‘How COVID-19 Affected Policies on Wildlife Trade’ is part of the group’s strategy as an alliance that is aimed at engaging with the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework in a manner that this reflects the values, rights, priorities and needs of African people. 

This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer of Obudu Conservation Centre (OCC), Nela Duke-Ekpenyong, on Tuesday, in an in an online interview with journalists, saying in April, 2020, her wildlife NGO dedicated to protecting, restoring and increasing awareness of the wild lands and wildlife on the Obudu Plateau and surrounding Cross River National Park, joined the communications and policy working group of ACBA.

Duke-Ekpenyong who supports the coalition by managing the external communications of the Alliance, and assisting with the country level engagement in Nigeria, liaising with media platforms to promote ACBA’s message and campaign, said she has produced a case study on Wildlife Community Forest Reserves, Pastoralism, and Water Rehabilitation to influence the Convention on Biodiversity’s Framework on Sustainable Use.

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According to her; “We are currently running an African- wide campaign to draw attention to zoonotic diseases and tourism and conservation. We are presently out to increaseawareness and my involvement is for the Obudu Conservation Centre, which is part of the ACBA. As the group continued with its six-week campaign, the organizations acknowledge that engaging the public on the linkage between nature and health systems is vital now more than ever.”

“To effectively communicate this scientific phenomenon, multi-lingual info graphics are complementing efforts to ensure a better grasp of how zoonotic diseases are transmitted and how everyone can play a role to ensure that we avert another pandemic. In a bid to raise awareness on zoonosis, ACBA has organized a campaign comprising of webinar series and infographics. The final webinar, for the #OurNatureOurHealth Campaign is almost here!”

“On this webinar, taking place on Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 1500hrs (EAT); we will be discussing more about ‘How COVID-19 Affected Policies on Wildlife Trade. It will be moderated by the communications leader of the alliance, Miss Simangele Msweli of South Africa, with Mr. Taye Teferi, the Africa Policy and Partnership Coordinator of Wildlife Monitoring Network, and Mr. Tommy Garnet, Executive Director, Environmental Foundation for Africa, as speakers.”

“We also work alongside a team of leading conservationists and organisations in discussions with the China CSOs and Latin American COICA group to bring together the voice of the global south to influence the post-2020 CBD Framework. Especially as ACBA, which is a coalition of like-minded African organizations that have come together to engage with the post 2020 GBF to achieve some definite vision. It includes Africa’s biodiversity thrives and underpins equitable, socially economically resilient livelihoods based on the rights of people to sustainably use their natural resources.”

ACBA has engaged the African Union Commission and United Nation’s General Assembly’s Biodiversity Summit. 

Also in an email response from the communications leader of the alliance, Miss Simangele Msweli of South Africa, stated;

“On Thursday the 17th of September, we are hosting a webinar on how the Covid-19 pandemic is influencing policies on wildlife trade and consumption, as well as deforestrations. It will be live on the Facebook page and there will be French translation.”

“Over the past five weeks, we have been running the zoonosis campaign that ends in two weeks, educating Africans about zoonosis, their effects on the economy, human health and animal health”, adding that more information about the infographics are obtainable at: https://trello.com/b/7P7XcgmT/african-csos-biodiversity-alliance-ournatureourhealth-toolkit.”

“While on social media we have focused on the zoonosis campaign, behind the scenes we are crafting policy submissions to the Convention on Biological Diversity, in order to influence the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework as our main goal is to strengthen the African civil society voice in the CBD. Our recent submission was on sustainable use and can also be accessed here: https://www.cbd.int/sustainable/forum/?forumid=273&threadid=1782#1945.”

A peep into the ACBA website revealed that in a bid to raise awareness on zoonosis, the group had earlier organized a campaign comprising of webinar series and info, graphics, titled ‘Introduction to Zoonotic Diseases’ on Wednesday 5, August at 1500hrs (EAT), focusing on demystifying the new terminology by highlighting the various transmission methods and the actions needed to create resilience and promote the sustainable use of nature. 

The virtual session that came with a question and answer segment featured three of the leading organizations who have been providing emergency responses across the continent that also presented a speaker each that included Mr. Kaddu Sebunya, CEO, AWF; Mrs. Maxi Louis, Director, Namibian Association of Community Based Resources Associations (NASCO) and Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, CEO, Conservation through Public Health (CTPH),