CASD works closely with its expert Commissions and Members to carry out research and to apply science and best conservation practice to help address challenges to biodiversity in the eastern and southern Africa region.

The programme works at multiple levels – influencing policy and other institutional frameworks as well as carrying out direct field actions. CASD works closely with Regional Economic Commissions, national governments, the private sector, NGOs and local communities to help ensure that biodiversity conservation is effectively mainstreamed into development planning.

CASD helps build capacity for biodiversity conservation of actors across sectors from protected area managers at the field level to senior decision-making through training, disseminating information and convening multiple stakeholder dialogues to design and implement innovative conservation actions on the ground.

The existing C projects in the CASD portfolio include:

  1. Lower Awash-Lake Abhe Land and Seascape: enhancing biodiversity conservation in transboundary ecosystems and seascapes: IUCN is implementing a wide range of conservation actions in the Lower Awash-Lake Abhe land and seascape demonstration site in Djibouti and Ethiopia. This project is a component of the IGAD Biodiversity Management Programme, funded by the European Union. IUCN is working with local communities, NGOs, private sector and government to develop transboundary and seascape management plans and building capacity for biodiversity conservation and improved community livelihoods, including the development of nature-based enterprises.
  2. Integrated planning to implement the CBD Strategic Plan and Increase Ecosystem Resilience: IUCN is working with local government, NGOs and local communities to strengthen capacity for integrated development planning for biodiversity conservation and climate change resilience in Tanzania and Zambia. This project is part of a global project involving pilot projects in Vietnam and Colombia, in addition to the two countries in the IUCN ESARO region, and is funded by the International Climate Initiative (ICI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU)
  3. Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot: IUCN is part of the Regional Implementation Team for CEPF’s investment in the hotspot supporting civil society organizations (CSOs) to help conserve and manage key biodiversity areas (KBAs) in this hotspot which stretches from Yemen to Mozambique and contains spectacular species richness and endemism. Many of the KBAs are under a great deal of pressure from a wide range of threats and are situated in some of the poorest parts of the region. The project helps to build capacity of CSOs to engage more effectively in biodiversity conservation while seeking opportunities to improve local community livelihoods and to leverage additional funding to catalyse additional support for conservation in this hotspot. See for additional information
  4. Zambia Wildlife Based Land Use assessment: IUCN is carrying out a study on behalf of the Zambian government to help design a project to improve wildlife based land use in the country for improved biodiversity conservation and local community livelihoods. The study, which is funded by the African Development Bank, is evaluating at a wide range of options from extensive to intensive wildlife management models and will make recommendations for a viable future project to maximize benefits from wildlife base land use.

    For more information, please contact:

    Leo Niskanen, Technical Coordinator, Conservation Areas and Species Diversity. Email: