African financial institutions pledge to protect and restore nature in landmark statement

“Nature Voices Pledge” will be launched at a Presidential Panel on nature at the Africa Climate Summit

Nairobi, September 5th, 2023: Some of Africa’s largest financial institutions are backing a call to conserve and restore nature amid a biodiversity crisis that threatens the wellbeing and livelihoods of tens of millions of its people.

The landmark “Nature Voices Pledge” is being launched by the African Natural Capital Alliance (ANCA), a collaborative membership organisation whose collective assets total US$390 billion. Among its members are major financial institutions such as Standard Chartered, KCB, Equity Bank, Ecobank, Access Bank, DBSA, Zanaco, FirstRand, Investec, Sanlam, Old Mutual, CalBank, ICEA LION and Fidelity Shield.

The Pledge commits the ANCA membership, which also includes governmental organisations such as the Ghana Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and civil society organisations including the African Wildlife Foundation, to support conservation and restoration efforts, integrate nature into their decision-making and promote sustainable financing solutions.

It comes amid growing evidence that the natural capital on which tens of millions of Africans depend is being lost due to factors including overexploitation, overpopulation, land-use changes and climate change. The value of the natural capital lost to Africa every year is estimated to be $195 billion according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The “Nature Voices Pledge” is to be announced at a Presidential Panel titled “Pioneering the Future of Nature in Africa” which is being hosted by the Africa Climate Summit 2023 on 5th September 2023

The event, which is being supported by ANCA, brings together leaders from several African nations including the Presidents of Rwanda, Republic of Congo and Burundi, to engage in a high-level dialogue on the future of nature in Africa. It will provide a platform for African leaders to discuss key challenges, opportunities, and policy interventions aimed at promoting nature and biodiversity for sustainable development across the continent.

The ‘Nature Voices Pledge’ encapsulates the shared commitment of ANCA’s member institutions to prioritise nature-positive practices and integrate environmental considerations into their core operations. It highlights three key principles that underline ANCA’s dedication to shaping a more sustainable and resilient Africa:

  • Acknowledging the Importance of Nature
  • Emphasizing the African Context
  • Assuming Responsibility

The Pledge also sets out a set of concrete actions ANCA members will take to achieve their nature-centred goals:

  • Support Nature Conservation and Restoration
  • Integrate Nature into Decision-Making
  • Promote Sustainable Financing Solutions
  • Strengthen Transparency and Reporting
  • Support Alignment of Policies and Regulations
  • Foster Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing

This historic commitment underscores the group’s urgency and conviction in driving transformative change toward a sustainable future for Africa.

Dorothy Maseke, Head of ANCA Secretariat and Lead of Nature Finance at FSD Africa, said:

“We in Africa are privileged to live on a continent so rich in natural capital but we must also recognise that our economy and our well-being depends on using it sustainably. This landmark pledge signifies that the members of ANCA are determined to play our part by putting nature at the heart of decision-making, so we reflect its true value and drive investment into activities which conserve and enhance nature rather than destructive activities for short term gain.”

Kaddu Sebunya, CEO, African Wildlife Foundation, said:

“As we stand on the cusp of the Africa Climate Summit, we come with a resounding message of hope, unity, and action. We support the Nature Voices Pledge and believe unity is essential to ensure the realisation of nature’s conservation in Africa for prosperity and future generations. At the African Wildlife Foundation we believe that biodiversity stands as a powerful ally in the face of our pressing climate challenges. We understand that acknowledging biodiversity’s pivotal role is the key to a harmonious future for both nature and humanity.”