Innovating for biodiversity conservation in African protected areas: a study

Protected areas in general, African ones in particular, are currently underfunded, while they are threatened by encroachment and pollution and under continuous pressure. In a context of shrinking Official Development Assistance (ODA) and public funds, both the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) call for the promotion, design and implementation of innovative financial mechanisms (IFMs) in order to simultaneously incentivize conservation and fill the identified funding gap. These mechanisms are alleged to leverage finance efficiently, provide actors with better incentives and allow for optimal resource allocation. Some also highlight their inherent risks and the corresponding safeguards to be put in place. Against this backdrop, this new study proposes to thoroughly analyse 3 cases of specific IFMs, respectively in South Africa (tax deductions for protected area creation on private farms), Sierra Leone (conservation concession and carbon finance) and Côte d’Ivoire (capitalizing a trust fund through debt-for-nature swaps), so as to uncover practical innovations actually at work in these mechanisms. By doing so, the study aims at bringing practice to theory regarding which innovation works and why, in the field of protected area conservation, in particular in Africa.

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