The establishment of A Pan-African Conservation Trust (A-PACT) should be complementary with already existing national conservation trust funds, experts in the field noted. The initiative is seeking $200bn for a pan-African trust fund that would ensure sufficient and sustained financing for all of Africa’s 8,500 protected and conserved areas in perpetuity. This means it will cover six million square kilometres of protected areas, according to concept developers, Africa Protected Area Directors (APAD). The A-PACT concept has been co-created by the APAD in collaboration with the co-organisers of APAC; the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The beta launch of A-PACT took place during the first-ever African Protected Areas Congress on July 18. Speaking at the launch of A-PACT, Hailemariam Desalegn, former prime minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the A-PACT steering committee, called on African leaders to ratify its establishment to help mobilise resources for the conservation of Africa’s protected areas. Carl Bruessow, Executive Director of Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, Malawi, said the only way that A-PACT can work is if it works on top of all conservation trusts in Africa and focuses on protected areas that have little or no funding at all. “And somehow, through finance, brings all that capacity together in a way that everyone understands how it works and what the priorities are,” he said. There is a lot of institutionalisation that has to be done but within the conservation capacity that exists, because everybody wants money to make a difference in what they are doing, Bruessow cited. “We are not talking about something that is an additional responsibility, but we want money to flow within organisations to let them do their job better… in fact, all the work done inside the protected area is by community groups,” he added. The concept underlines that Africa spends less than 10 percent of what is needed to protect and restore nature. Teddy Mugabo, CEO of Rwanda Green Fund, said that at the African level, the fund has to set clear priorities so that different investors that come on board are ensured they are not duplicating activities but complimenting, and also ensure the funds are going where the needs are. Ahmed Lefghih, Executive Director of Bacomab Trust Fund, Mauritania, commended the initiative that will finance African conservation efforts; however, he noted that it should also consider transboundary reserves for protected areas. Transboundary protected areas mean that the ecology spans boundaries of more than one country or sub-national entity. Source of funding A Pan-African Conservation Trust (A-PACT) would address the financing gap in Africa through a private, legally independent sustainable financing mechanism for Africa’s protected and conserved areas, supported by an aligned African leadership and financed through global resource mobilisation for ‘green growth’ Covid-19 recovery, among other sources, explains the concept.