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Photo Credit: USAID

Highlights from the Integrated Freshwater Conservation and WASH M&E Workshop

For the past three years, ABCG has been exploring linkages between biodiversity protection and the relationships between water conservation, water pollution and human activities. While ABCG has invested and produced policy papers and analysis on forest, woodland and savannah ecosystems, our member organizations had not focused very much on freshwater ecosystems and the myriad of threats to biodiversity in rapidly changing landscapes In Africa.

Sub-Saharan Africa has considerable aquatic treasures, containing a rich diversity of life. For example, the Zaire river basin is the most species rich in the world, while the Great Lakes – Tanganyika, Victoria and Malawi – each harbor rich diversity of fisheries. Unfortunately the productivity and diversity of Africa’s ecosystems are threatened by deforestation, agricultural production and municipal and industrial production.

Freshwater conservation efforts are designed to protect or restore freshwater biodiversity, ecosystems and ecosystem services. The term biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals and microorganisms and the ecosystems in which they occur. Ecosystem refers to a dynamic complex of plant, animal, and microorganism communities and the nonliving environment interacting as a functional unit. And ecosystem services are the benefits that people obtain from these systems – things like flood control or the provision of drinking water and food.

Wash workshop group discussion
Workshop participant in a group session. Photo © Kamweti.

In order to protect and conserve freshwater and its biodiversity in Africa, ABCG has supported this work to bring together ABCG member organizations and several development organizations  to promote policies, plans and projects that integrate access to water supply and sanitation with the conservation and sustainable management of freshwater resources. With the M&E framework, there is an opportunity to continue to collaborate and meet our mutual development and conservation goals.

As many of us already know, conservation is a multisectoral practice and we need to continue to work with diverse partners and stakeholders across the development world to increase our mutual successes. Biodiversity underpins all sustainable development and it will take our collective efforts to protect it.

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