BIOPAMA’s importance for the NBSAP process in Eastern and Southern Africa

12 December 2013 | Article

Christine Mentzel

BIOPAMA was represented at the Global NBSAP (National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans) workshop in Nairobi, Kenya 11 – 15, November 2013. The meeting was convened by the CBD Secretariat to get an update on the progress of all countries towards the development of their NBSAPs, with a particular focus on knowledge and experience exchange in three main areas: mainstreaming biodiversity development into other sectors, sustainable financing of NBSAP activities and setting targets.

The workshop discussions linked closely to the BIOPAMA Capacity Building Programme framework for the Eastern and Southern African region in particular, as this is focussed on the interface between protected areas/biodiversity and other sectors. This focus is in line with Target 2 of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and Target 1.2 of the CBD Programme of Work for Protected Areas (PoWPA) goals, both centring on integration of biodiversity concerns into the broader context (mainstreaming). BIOPAMA’s overall focus on improving decision-making for protected areas and biodiversity means that this interface is a crucial one to support.

The efforts across the ESA region to engage with other sectors in the development of NBSAPs are at various stages. Four countries (Namibia, Botswana, Seychelles and Uganda) from the region showcased their work under the NBSAP 2.0 project, which supported them in convening cross-sectoral engagements for the development of their respective NBSAP.

The lessons from this work are relevant across the region and BIOPAMA can assist in picking up this process with other countries. This is crucial, not only for the development of the NBSAPs, but also for more sustainable development decisions across the region. BIOPAMA can provide relevant technical and information support related to protected areas and biodiversity for this engagement through its planned Regional Reference Information System. In addition, it should work to support the capacity building of relevant sectors on the value of protected areas as a legitimate land use, and the role of biodiversity in general in the strategic plans for development in the region.

Of particular importance in Eastern and Southern Africa is engagement with sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, mining and infrastructure development, as there is great potential for them to improve on processes to reduce negative impacts on protected areas and biodiversity conservation. One planned event which will open this engagement is a dialogue on extractive industries and World Heritage, to be held in Nairobi in February 2014. This event will bring together various government sectors as well as the private sector and IUCN Members working in and around World Heritage sites in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. It will seek to gain a mutual understanding of the status quo and plans related to World Heritage areas, in addition to an appreciation of the various parties’ perspectives and concerns with respect to mineral and hydrocarbon development. It will also take the next step by validating plans and available information, and identifying potential joint strategies to reduce impacts on natural World Heritage sites in the region.

BIOPAMA must support these processes of constructive dialogue on these very important regional issues. For next year’s event, it will contribute resource maps to support information sharing, and the regional BIOPAMA team will be available as technical resource people as well as co-facilitators for this dialogue.

Christine Mentzel is Senior Programme Officer in the Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme for IUCN, and BIOPAMA Coordinator for the Eastern and Southern Africa region.