First Plenary Session: Africa`s Importance for Biodiversity

First Plenary Session: Africa’s Importance for Biodiversity – Opportunities and
The opening plenary of the CI Global Symposium will take a comprehensive look at
Africa’s unmatched biodiversity and the challenges to protecting it.
Africa and the surrounding ocean encompass eight of CI’s 34 biodiversity hotspots,
which are regions with a rich variety of life that face great threat. Conserving African
biodiversity means protecting hundreds of species of life found nowhere else on the
planet, and also preserving benefits provided by nature such as clean air and water, food,
natural resources and other ecosystem services relied on by humans.
Biodiversity conservation is the foundation for sustainable development that is crucial to
reducing poverty and improving health across the continent. Having to replicate
ecosystem services that nature provides for free is inefficient and costly, and only will
repeat the cycle of failed policies of the past that plunged developing nations into debt.
Key issues of the plenary session include the value and efforts to protect African
biodiversity, including marine biodiversity; the importance of freshwater biodiversity to
the health of ecosystems and people; best practices for creating protected areas; and
transboundary conservation efforts to protect entire ecosystems regardless of political
Topics and Speakers:
The importance of Africa for biodiversity
Russ Mittermeier, Conservation International
What does the long-term future of Africa’s biodiversity look like, and how will we know?
Gustavo Fonseca, Conservation International
Africa’s Marine Biodiversity Riches
Jean Maharavo, National Center for Environmental Research, Madagascar
Sylvia Earle, Conservation International
Africa’s Freshwater Biodiversity
Andre Kandem-Toham, World Wide Fund for Nature
Olivier Langrand, Conservation International
How Protected Areas Work Best – The African Experience
Ali Kaka, East African Wildlife Society (TBC)