NAIROBI, June 23 (Xinhua) -- Grassroots communities in Africa should be at the center of global negotiations geared toward coming up with a landmark agreement on protecting natural habitats in the coming decades, youthful campaigners said on Thursday.
Derrick Mugisha, representative of the Global Biodiversity Youth Network Uganda chapter said that a people-centered approach to enhanced protection of vital ecosystems was required in Africa where habitat loss had worsened poverty, hunger, and disease.
Speaking on the sidelines of the fourth meeting of the open-ended working group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework underway in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, Mugisha said that contribution of local communities will be key to the realization of an inclusive and pragmatic deal to revitalize species conservation.
"The aspirations and major concerns of local communities should inform negotiations leading to the establishment of a new global deal to halt a biodiversity crisis rampant in Africa," said Mugisha.
He added that a rights-based and inclusive multilateral process was required to ensure Africa's custodians of genetic resources benefited from financial incentives and capacity development.
Africa's youth-led green lobby groups have been advocating for mainstreaming of aspirations of local communities in the final draft of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework that is expected to be adopted at the end of the Nairobi forum on Sunday.
Kevin Lunzalu, a co-founder of Kenya Youth Biodiversity Network said that an ambitious and adequately funded global pact to tackle threats facing natural habitats should be aligned with the urgent needs of Africa's indigenous communities including food, water, and energy security.
According to Lunzalu, local communities should also be involved in the implementation of key targets outlined in the global biodiversity framework including benefits sharing and compensation.
Irene Kananura, a member of the Ugandan chapter of the Global Biodiversity Youth Network said that incentivizing local communities through financing, training, and technology transfer would aid restoration of degraded habitats.
Kananura stressed that a transformative global biodiversity framework will have a greater impact in Africa if it recognizes and rewards grassroots interventions aimed at regenerating vital ecosystems like forests and wetlands.