Sharing knowledge, building capacity, and exchanging best practices with a global audience were the main outcomes of the IUCN Congress 2016 for BIOPAMA in Eastern and Southern Africa. The two BIOPAMA congress events coordinated by this region contributed to the achievements of the BIOPAMA programme aimed at showcasing the results of the project and how the conservation world can benefit from them.
With a capacity building programme focused on addressing conflict resolution, BIOPAMA has been equipping protected area practitioners from Eastern and Southern Africa with the skills to manage conflicts in and around protected areas since 2013. More than 100 staff from all countries of the region have been trained and many others have benefited from further capacity development initiatives supported by BIOPAMA.
The success of the BIOPAMA capacity development trainings in Eastern and Southern Africa inspired the development of a similar formation at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016. A full day conservation campus on Alternative Dispute Resolution with a particular focus on the Mutual Gains Approach to negotiation welcomed 45 conservation professionals from 20 countries on the 3rd day of the IUCN Congress. It was hosted in collaboration with the Sustainability Challenge Foundation, the Australian Law Council, the IUCN National Committee Australia, the World Commission on Environmental Law and the National Environmental Law Association of Australia. Participants engaged in the varied programme of presentations, games and simulations aimed at building skills in negotiation, ending the day with discussions of various case studies and how these were resolved. This kind of training also has the potential to support and contribute to resolution 076 passed in Congress, which focusses on the prevention, management and resolution of social conflict as a key requirement for conservation and management of ecosystems.
In a separate event, the “SADC Guidelines for mainstreaming biodiversity and ecosystem services into extractive industries” was presented as a useful tool for governments and industry in ensuring sustainable development of extractive industries. This tool was developed with SADC member states and industry and highlights the importance of early engagement between sectors, to inform strategic decision-making and avoid reactive mitigation only. It further highlights the use of the mitigation hierarchy throughout the development process with an emphasis on avoidance as the primary consideration early in the process.
BIOPAMA’s networking event, “Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Night” provided the platform for the programme’s stakeholders to engage and share best practices and experiences in working with BIOPAMA. Jon Hesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community and elected IUCN Councillor, was among the speakers at this event, together with Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Tonga and Mr Humberto Delgado Rosa from the European Commission Directorate General for Environment.
The BIOPAMA team also contributed to global BIOPAMA activities, showcasing the capacity development activities across all BIOPAMA regions and demonstrating the Regional Reference Information System as a tool for improved protected area management. For the Eastern and Southern African region, the two platforms that are currently operational are the SADC TFCA portal (tfcaportal.org) and the EAC Observatory Reference Information System (eac-rris.biopama.org).