The COMBO Project: COnservation, impact Mitigation and Biodiversity Offsets in Africa

Improved biodiversity outcomes from better development and industry practice in four African countries

The Wildlife Conservation Society, Forest Trends and Biotope have commenced a four-year project (2016-2019) which aims to reconcile economic development in Africa with conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. This project is funded by the Agence Francaise de Développement (AFD), the Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) and the Mava Foundation. It will build capacity to reduce the impacts of development projects on biodiversity.

The project will work with governments, developers and industry to expand and improve the application of the mitigation hierarchy in four African nations: Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique and Uganda. The mitigation hierarchy involves a sequence of four key actions – ‘avoid’, ‘minimise’, ‘restore’ and ‘offset’. It is a best practice approach to reducing the negative impacts of development projects on biodiversity and ecosystem services. We will support this approach by:

  1. Assisting governments in the identification, analysis and introduction of appropriate policy to encourage investment in development projects that result in no net loss or a net gain of biodiversity.
  2. Creating the enabling conditions for development projects to achieve no net loss of biodiversity by: supporting national planning processes; identifying relevant biodiversity metrics; and developing and implementing baseline and monitoring survey methodology.
  3. Developing institutional, legal and financial mechanisms for offset implementation, particularly those linked with conservation trust funds to secure the permanence of conservation outcomes.
  4. Supporting the uptake of best practice in the public and private sectors, monitoring these initiatives and developing lessons learnt.
  5. Building national and regional capacity by sharing lessons learnt drawn from African and global experiences of no net loss activities with a wide range of involved stakeholders.

The project will follow the no net loss principles and guidance of the Business and Biodiversity Offsets Program (BBOP) and BBOP Standard, the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard 6, Equator Principles and other best practice policy and methodologies. As these principles and standards have received widespread review by a range of stakeholders, this approach will facilitate the improved application of the mitigation hierarchy globally.