The Acting Executive Secretary for the United Nations Convention on the Bio Diversity (CBD)

Elizabeth Maruma Mrema has called on African Governments, to create awareness and take part in the drafting and negotiation of the UN Bio-diversity document amongst its’ people. Mrema was speaking to African Network of Journalist (ANEJ) at the Just ended conference which was held in Rome Itally last week.

“We know that biodiversity is very important for Africa, we know for Africa that biodiversity is also the link between agriculture and production, food systems, importance of fisheries, forestry; all these issues are of key importance to Africa. African leaders should make it a priority to balance the use of the Natural Bio-diversity we have at our disposal so that we save the planet from the diverse effects of climate change.”

Mrema noted the African continent is really aware of what is happening to our climate and environment at policy level however but not many countries have come up with cooking papers on how to tackle the biodiversity issues and challenges. CBD has recevied written submissions mainly from the African NGOs and businesses not neccesary from the Africain Governments.

The CBD Acting Executive Secretary retariated that the African Governments should come on board to draft the CBD negotiation platforms but such information from the African Governments has not been forthcoming. So far over 140 countries world-wide are participants to post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework the negotiations.

“I thought the spokesperson for the African negotiators would have at least talked about it but I didn’t hear that there was such a group that was established by the Environment Ministers to lead Africa in the negotiations for the post-2020 biodiversity, which to my understanding apart from the European Commission which normally have their own coordination.”

Mrema noted that Africa as a continent is facing many challenges such as Poverty eradiction
“When we talk of poverty alleviation, we cannot talk of poverty eradication if its not to do with nature, if its not to do with biodiversity, if its not to do with agriculture, if its not to do with food systems. I don’t think there’s any continent which knows better the impact of pesticides on the land and on agriculture production than Africa.” Mrema said this is the reason why CBD is calling on all African Countries to come on board because when the document on biodivesity is adopted, it will go to all UN members countries for implemenation.

‘So, unless the countries are on board now, when it comes down for implementation this is where questions will begin – where is this coming from? Who was engaged? Who was involved? What were our views?, quizzed the CBD Secretary General.

The post 2020 was taking place at the backdrop of environmental emergencies taking place around the world, the high temperatures, the wild fires, droughts, floods and disappearance of some flora and fauna as we know it.