Africa Program: Land & Biodiversity
Africa is a continent rich with natural resources but, in many cases, lacks the infrastructure and capacity to manage and protect them. Throughout history, people have exploited Africa’s lush forests, vast mineral reserves, and unique flora and fauna. While many African countries have begun to confront this unsustainable behavior, new challenges arise as demand increases and technology improves. Humans can now clear more of the species-rich rainforests faster than ever. International trade has introduced many invasive species that now threaten Africa’s extensive and pristine wetlands. The delicate balance of life in the continent’s picturesque savannahs and extraordinary wetlands is threatened by global climate change. Research into new pharmaceuticals and genetically modified agricultural products jeopardizes indigenous cultures and their native homeland. Many African countries are saddled with the difficult task of developing their economies in the midst of a rapidly changing international marketplace while doing what is best for their people and protecting their cultural and natural heritage. For over a decade, the Environmental Law Institute has worked with partners throughout the continent to identify the tools necessary to balance these two objectives and build the capacity of African NGOs, governments, and legal professionals to achieve truly sustainable development.