STATEMENT: Conservation International-Africa on the Nairobi Declaration

September 7, 2023

Conservation International’s Suzanne Ngo-Eyok and former President of Colombia Iván Duque respond to the Nairobi Declaration: “Finance is essential”

NAIROBI, Kenya (September 7, 2023) – Conservation International-Africa today released the following statements in response to the Nairobi Declaration issued today by the Africa Climate Summit. Earlier this week, Conservation International and Peace Parks Foundation announced a USD $150 million investment to drive a climate-smart grazing approach for managing and restoring grasslands, savannah and shrublands across Africa.

Suzanne Ngo-Eyok, Senior Vice President at Conservation International-Africa, said:

“The spirit of the Africa Climate Summit was one of solutions, which is vital since we are nowhere near where we need to be to limit runaway climate change. Conservation International supports the African Union’s commitment to strengthen actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, restore degraded lands and ensure that, together, we collectively protect 30% of our African land within this decade.

“However, more can and must be done. African countries must put in place the necessary frameworks to protect, maintain and restore this vital nature. The Nairobi Declaration does not explicitly call for action toward the development and implementation of carbon market laws and policies for environmental integrity that align with the international carbon market and Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. These are essential for creating frameworks to safeguard and ensure communities benefit from these investments that protect nature.

“As a continent, we need to witness and provide much greater support for nature. We are pleased that the Nairobi Declaration speaks to climate-positive growth, calling for the essential protection and enhancement of nature, a need to adopt nature-based solutions through policies and processes and aligning the African Union’s Biodiversity Strategic Action Plan to the global 2050 vision of living in harmony with nature. Conservation International commits to supporting these elements of the Nairobi Declaration.

“The reality is that African countries and the international community have undervalued and underinvested in nature. While there are numerous incentives that exist to destroy high carbon ecosystems, few exist that incentivize the conservation or restoration. We admire the Nairobi Declaration’s commitment to develop and implement incentives aimed at attracting green growth and inclusive economies, and we urge that this factors for incentives that can protect nature and climate. This is critical for the continent since 86% of its people – particularly Indigenous peoples and local communities who are often custodians of our forests, rangelands and coastal ecosystems – depend on natural resources for their livelihoods.

“It is only by improving livelihoods and lifting people out of poverty that progress will be sustainable. The great news is that green finance and investments can create new jobs, grow economies, improve people’s lives and sustain nature.”

At the Africa Climate Summit plenary on “Pioneering the Future of Nature in Africa,” former President of Colombia and Conservation International Board Member Iván Duque, said:

“We have to be carbon neutral but we also have to be nature-positive. Nature conservation and restoration matter for Africa to meet its targets.

“The challenge is the fiscal space that we have in the Global South to devote to climate action and conservation. We need to be politically bold and technically pioneering. For example, in Colombia, to expand our marine protect areas, we worked with Conservation International in one of the first global initiatives on blue bonds.

“This takes us to the carbon credit markets. Until we invent something more agile or innovative, carbon credits are the fastest way to massively mobilise resources for projects that aim for carbon neutrality and nature- positive objectives. Conservation International and I have been working closely with the Africa Carbon Markets Initiative (ACMI). After only one year, ACMI is at almost US$ 1 billion in advance commitments. This is one of greatest opportunities for Africa.”


About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to for more, and follow our work on Conservation NewsFacebookTwitterTikTokInstagram and YouTube.