African Biodiversity Network: Sowing Seeds for Grassroots Resilience

By Philip Newell

The African Biodiversity Network (ABN) is a collection of local groups from 12 countries across Africa fighting to protect the rich natural biodiversity of the continent from the demands of “industrial commodification” through the building of political solidarity. By synthesizing the local knowledge of their partner organizations, including The Mupo Foundation and the Porini Trust, into a single voice, they hope to gain global support of issues that impact their communities, such as large-scale land grabs, genetically modified crops, and agrofuels.

African Biodiversity Network is working to preserve seeds (Photo credt: The SEED Trust)

Their three main focus areas, ecosystems and community resilience (ECR), advocacy alliances, and network development, are designed to restore and spread indigenous knowledge, raise awareness of pressing issues, and harmonize the many groups around Africa into one well-tuned political voice. Their ECR activities focus on documenting indigenous knowledge that is rapidly being lost because of urbanization and globalization—some 14 million Africans move from cities to rural areas each year. ABN’s network development theme helps use that information and connect it to both policy makers and other grassroots groups.

By coordinating groups that are working in different countries on similar issues, ABN is concentrating their voices. This voice is then used to draw attention to and try and counteract the increasing global demand for genetically modified crops, agrofuels and other threats to Africa’s biodiversity.

Philip Newell is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

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