Message from Rémy Rioux, Agence Française de Développement

“Investing in biodiversity and ecosystems is one of the most effective and cost-efficient means for making progress toward a safer, more equitable and more sustainable world.”

“A World in Common”—it’s more than the tagline of the Agence Française de Développement (AFD). It’s the fundamental truth that drives not only our agency, but many governments and organizations around the globe to encourage and support sustainable development. We are sharing this world, and our realities are interconnected. AFD became a donor of CEPF in 2007 to be part of the global conservation of biodiversity, which we all rely on as citizens of the world.

Biodiversity—the diversity of life on the planet—has long been under siege. Global populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, according to the Living Planet lndex. Amongst the 85,000 species assessed for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 28 percent are threatened with extinction. Threats to biodiversity include habitat destruction for development and agriculture, poaching and over-harvesting, pollution, introduction of non-native species; all man-made factors compounded by the effects of climate change.

Species and habitat loss impact negatively the capacity of ecosystems to provide food, fresh water, raw materials and medicines, and limit the potential for species-related scientific discoveries that could benefit the world. The destruction of biodiversity and ecosystems such as forests, wetlands, mangroves and coastal areas also impairs nature’s ability to help offset and adapt to climate change and undermines the potential for sustainable economic activities that rely on nature.

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AFD believes it is in the best interest of France and all nations to invest in the preservation of species and natural ecosystems and the restoration of degraded natural habitats. The potential return on these investments is huge. Tropical forests alone, if kept intact, offer 30 percent of the climate change mitigation needed to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius, while also providing wild resources for food and income for people facing failed harvests. Sustainable management of rivers, aquifers and floodplains is essential to the conservation of water supplies in parts of the world where growing aridity threatens livelihoods, and to control flooding where extreme climatic events will be more and more frequent. Healthy mangroves and wetlands ease the impact of storms, and diverse oceanic ecosystems provide huge quantities of food while also storing carbon that would otherwise be released in the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

In 2017, AFD has invested 314 million euros directed to strengthening the management of natural ecosystems and biodiversity, including 99 million euros in Africa. Africa is expected to be the continent hardest hit by climate change, according to the U.N.’s lntergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The U.N. also estimates that Africa will be the home of one-third of Earth’s human population by 2100. The need to inject nature-based solutions as sustainable boosters of African economies has never been more urgent.

This is where the role of CEPF is crucial. AFD’s support to CEPF delivers on our strategy in Africa and globally through projects that maintain ecosystem services provided by properly managed natural ecosystems, thereby improving human well-being. The investment in CEPF also furthers France’s contributions to achieving the Aichi Targets of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity as well as the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and complements the French investment in the Global Environment Facility. ln addition, CEPF’s means of delivery reflects AFD’s philosophy of empowerment of local actors: conservation strategies implemented by local civil society partners, yielding important results that help set up a healthier, more stable future in Africa and around the globe.

lnvesting in biodiversity and ecosystems is one of the most effective and cost-efficient means for making progress toward a safer, more equitable and more sustainable world. CEPF helps us strategically deliver investments to the local communities and organizations that can build lasting, positive change.

– Rémy Rioux, chief executive officer, AFD

Photo Credits

Rémy Rioux. © Agence Française de Développement
Bossou, Guinea, at the foothills of Mount Nimba. © Olivier Langrand