From May 22nd to 25th, nearly 70 government and non-governmental stakeholders from six Eastern Africa countries convened in Nairobi, Kenya for an inception workshop to launch the second phase of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme.
A global partnership and an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States, BIOPAMA combines the protected areas and biodiversity conservation expertise of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the scientific know-how of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre of the (JRC).
Principal Secretary for Kenya’s State Department of Wildlife, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Dr. Margaret Mwakima officiated the event during which EU Delegation to Kenya, represented by Ms Myra Bernardi, and IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Director Luther Anukur also gave opening remarks.
The four-day meeting drew active participation from government delegates from Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan Republic of Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. The Secretariat’s of the East African Community and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development were also well-represented as were various national and regional wildlife conservation partners, research institutes and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
The workshop was successful in identifying a number of key regional priorities and areas of collaboration to strengthen protected area management effectiveness, governance and equity. This will feed into a detailed work plan for the implementation of BIOPAMA in the Eastern Africa region.
The forum also provided an invaluable platform for government and non-governmental partners to meaningfully network through a number of facilitated group discussions.
“The BIOPAMA initiative personifies the spirit of collaboration towards common environmental and biodiversity,” said EU Delegation to Kenya Environmental Management Officer Thomas Yatich.“This second phase aims to enhance the policy and decision-making capacities of institutions responsible for biodiversity conservation and protected area management by making available the best possible scientific information and knowledge,” he continued.
The six-year initiative will continue to build on successes from the first phase of the programme by reinforcing the management and governance of protected and conserved areas through better use and monitoring of information and capacity development on management and governance.
In partnership with stakeholders and regional partners, BIOPAMA is establishing and consolidating regional observatories for protected areas in Eastern and Southern Africa, Central and Western Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. Key features of the regional observatories, the Reference Information Systems (RIS) are tools that gather in one place all the available protected area and related information.
Under the tag line From Knowledge to Action for a Protected Planet, the programme is set to run until 2023 and includes an innovative Action Component – new in this phase, which will provide funding opportunities for specific site-based actions.
The Eastern Africa forum follows the Caribbean region inception workshop held in New Kingston, Jamaica in March, 2018, and the Southern Africa inception workshop held in Johannesburg 17th to 20th April, 2018.