Kenya government officials visited ILRI's Kapiti Research Station on 18 March 2020 (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

Conservation collaboration: a joint effort to safeguard agriculture and biodiversity

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group (ABCG) have recently formalized their commitment to tackle agricultural conservation challenges by signing a memorandum of understanding.

ABCG is a leading authority in proactively addressing emerging and high-priority biodiversity threats and has an expansive membership that encompasses both the United States of America and Africa. 

Its distinguished roster of permanent members includes prestigious organizations such as the African Wildlife Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund and the Jane Goodall Foundation.

ABCG's ongoing initiatives encompass a wide spectrum of critical issues, including land use management, gender integration, freshwater conservation, water, sanitation and hygiene, and the bushmeat crisis. 

With ILRI's established role and expertise in applying One Health approaches, along with a strong emphasis on gender and youth inclusion, the partnership between ILRI and ABCG is poised to make a substantial impact in addressing conservation and agricultural challenges.

Climate change is a growing threat to food systems and biodiversity, resulting in crop failure, livestock deaths, decline in grass availability and pasture, human-wildlife conflict as a result of competition over natural resources, and habitat degradation. ABCG and ILRI will draw on their expertise to address these impacts of climate change on food systems. 

Land use change is another key threat in Africa, with significant effects faced in agricultural landscapes. Over the years, ABCG has been developing innovative conservation approaches and methodologies to support land use planning skills in Africa. The partnership presents opportunities for ILRI to apply such land use planning framework to sustainable agricultural practices.

ABCG director Rubina James said, ‘The premise of this partnership with ILRI is that inter-sector collaboration, cooperation and alignment are critical to achieving organizational and collective objectives and contribute to inclusion, equity and harmony with nature.’

ILRI director general Appolinaire Djikeng said, ‘My commitment is to the joint efforts with the Africa Biodiversity Collaborative Group for research and innovation activities aimed at creating solutions to address biodiversity, food systems and climate change crises using a One Health approach.’