This paper published by AFD's Research Papers collection analyses how the main discourses that structure the GBF are playing out with respect to the specific challenges and aspirations of Sub-Saharan African countries. It outlines the directions in which African countries’ voices could change the dominant narrative on biodiversity protection, towards a broader narrative framed by commons approaches. These explore how conservation, the sustainable use of biodiversity, and exploitation of natural resources in supply chains, can effectively arrive at a balance that could be at the heart of future development that addresses local needs and priorities within the broader contexts of national and regional governance and development aspirations.

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Biodiversity is a classic example of a global commons. As we enter the coming decades of a rapidly changing climate, declining biodiversity, growing human populations and economic growth, sub-Saharan Africa countries are facing an existential challenge to their security and welfare. We blend commons approaches with a new ‘shared earth’ approach to local planning, focusing on the health and benefits of nature where people live and earn their livelihoods. The approach combines conservation with livelihoods, local cultures and local institutions to generate local solutions that meet peoples needs at the same time securing biodiversity and its benefits into the future. Done right, this approach can facilitate equitable participation of local actors in larger scale and transboundary supply chains, through shared principles of equity of access to and use of nature. This approach can help African and partner countries balance their obligations globally under the Sustainable Development Goals (to 2030) and the new global biodiversity framework (to 2050), while meeting local needs for a good quality of life.