The establishment of Regional Observatories for Protected Areas and Biodiversity is a central component of the BIOPAMA objective of building capacity to improve decision-making related to protected area management and biodiversity conservation (terrestrial and marine). The term Observatory is used across the world in different contexts; in the case of BIOPAMA, the term reflects the objective of providing the best available scientific data, traditional knowledge, and lessons learned from field activities.

The Observatories – now being referred to with names appropriate to the different regions - also serve as knowledge centres for the regions; facilitate networking of experts and institutions; and coordinate technical and policy support to national agencies and regional organizations.

The Observatories will focus on networking and communications between stakeholders, and providing access to biodiversity conservation and protected area data and information to support management decisions and policy processes. BIOPAMA will primarily engage with national and regional level agencies and institutions, with additional targeted interaction with protected area managers.

A key feature of each Observatory is a Regional Reference Information System (RRIS). The RRIS integrates a diverse range of relevant protected area and biodiversity data and information, using open source web services. The BIOPAMA RRIS can be accessed at rris.biopama.org

Each Observatory will host a version of the Regional Reference Information System customised to regional information needs and priorities.

Observatory for West and Central Africa
Cameroun-KUDATUBE: séance de sensibilisation dans la Réserve de Faune de Douala Edéa

The Observatory for West and Central Africa focuses on analyzing the context of protected areas and improving management performance through a planning and monitoring tool for the management of protected areas and protected areas systems. This tool comes in the form of a digital form providing a protocol for the detailed collection and analysis of data relating to the six dimensions of the IUCN management performance monitoring (context, impact, outcomes, process, inputs, planning) for each site and for all hierarchical organizational levels (national systems, networks, regional systems). The collection and analysis of the information with the staff of the protected areas and protected areas national agencies in 50 to 80 protected areas in 2015 will be supported by a network of regional coaches coming from national agencies, who will support the protected areas managers in their work.

Observatories in the Eastern and Southern African region
Women drinking at water source in forest landscape, Tanzania

The vision for the Observatories is to give a stronger voice to biodiversity and protected areas in the planning processes and ensure that biodiversity concerns are integrated across sectors, in particular extractive industries, agriculture, fisheries and infrastructure development. The Eastern & Southern African Region Observatory will be deployed through four planned nodes that will be linked to the Regional Economic Commissions in the region over time. The aim is to ensure that the information available through the Observatories is relevant to the needs in each of the sub-regions.

The Observatory for the East African Communityeac-rris.biopama.org

The first node in the region is hosted by the East African Community, with a second node currently in negotiation with the Southern African Development Community. The latter will link with existing initiatives focussed on Transfrontier Conservation Areas and initially be a hub for engagement and information for the TFCA community. Discussions with the Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD, Horn of Africa subregion) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) will be pursued over the next months.

Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway (Caribbean Gateway)
The Bahamas are located off the southeastern tip of Florida and host forests, wetlands, swamps, and the Andros Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the western hemisphere. The Bahamas island eco-region consists of over 3,000 low-lying islands

Linking Data to Better Decisionscaribbean-rris.biopama.org

The Caribbean Protected Areas Gateway is hosted by the University of West Indies (UWI) and located in the Centre for Resource Management and Environmental Studies (CERMES), a department within the Faculty of Science and Technology at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. The Caribbean Gateway will maintain a Regional Reference Information System (RRIS) for the region – a gateway to data and tools for analysis for biodiversity and protected area management. The data and tools span several themes, including marine and terrestrial ecosystems, species and habitats, ecosystem services, livelihoods, pressures and threats, and management and governance, as well as providing information on training opportunities, and a forum for discussions.

Pacific Islands Protected Areas Portal (PIPAP)
Nacula, Yasawa Islands, Fiji

Connecting people, knowledge and information

The Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)  hosts the BIOPAMA Pacific RRIS, embedded within the Pacific Islands Protected Areas Portal (PIPAP) - a regional information exchange hub for protected areas practitioners. Drawing on relevant information from existing information platforms within SPREP, as well as periodically-updated information from Member countries and complementary regional initiatives, the PIPAP aims to enable access to a comprehensive information database for Pacific protected areas.

LATEST BIOPAMA OBSERVATORIES NEWS

04 Jan 2017
News story

A national stakeholder's workshop for Kiribati was completed this month to initiate national activities under the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme. The workshop brought together various stakeholders to discuss national and local level coordination arrangements for protected areas which included protected areas administration and management, verifying capacity needs, determining gaps in protected area information, identifying current national data repositories and the types of data available and stored.

16 Dec 2016
Article

2016 represents the fifth year of BIOPAMA activities in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. Highlights include more capacity development for protected area staff at different levels, increased countries engagement particularly in protected area data collection, participation at international events (including the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016, CITES COP 17, CBD COP 13), networking and experts’ coordination, as well as targeted technical support to countries.

08 Dec 2016
Article

The Pacific islands led the way at the thirteenth conference of the convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP13) holding a side event on day one of the global conference. The Pacific Protected Areas Portal (PIPAP) was a big component of the activities showcased towards implementation of Aichi Targets, together with work undertaken by the European Union, Samoa, Fiji, Australia and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

05 Dec 2016
Article

How can open data aid with better decision making within protected areas? A short video Blogpost on the importance of Open Data to governance and decision-making in Caribbean Protected Areas.

29 Nov 2016
News story

A country engagement mission was recently completed to the Kingdom of Tonga to initiate national activities of the Pacific Islands Protected Areas Portal (PIPAP). This was one of several country missions conducted to consult and engage key stakeholders on protected area management.