Bururi, the link between heaven and earth

The Bururi Forest Nature Reserve in Burundi was previously considered to be the link between heaven and earth. The ancient Burundians attached great importance to forest conservation, especially mountain forests. Several mountain forests were protected and used as a place of worship, while other forests served as a necropolis for Queen Mothers. Read about this inspiring place

BIOPAMA: delivering results since 2012

The BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) Programme was launched in March 2012. Initiated by the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group with the support of the European Union, this programme has been delivering results on the ground for better conservation outcomes. Three implementing partners (IUCN, EC-JRC and the ABS Initiative), two components (protected areas and ABS- access and benefit sharing), three continents concerned, more than 400 staff trained and thousands of others interacting with the programme and its solutions for better protected area management. Discover BIOPAMA and its results in this short video.

The SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas portal successfully launched at CITES COP 17

During the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Conference of the Parties 17 that is currently taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) portal was launched during a side event hosted by SADC on 3rd of October 2016. Read more

IUCN Congress achievements for BIOPAMA's Eastern and Southern Africa

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. Read more

BIOPAMA at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016

More than 10,000 top government officials, scientists and civil society leaders convened for the world’s largest environmental and nature conservation event, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, 1-10 September 2016, Hawai’i. The BIOPAMA programme was represented with 30 events and a team of 13 staff. Their results are outline in a new report of the BIOPAMA, European Union and Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group visibility at the IUCN Congress 2016. Read more here.

Share your knowledge on invasive species in Africa!

In the effort to identify and map these species in African high biodiversity value sites, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Invasive Species Specialist Group and BIOPAMA invite protected area managers, practitioners, experts and researchers share their knowledge related to biological invasions by filling in this short questionnaire. The collated information will be available for users in the African Observatories for Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management. Read more...


The key role of the consultant is to oversee the overall development of the narrative of the report according to the existing roadmap, ensure that the relevant narrative is written and edit the final report. The Consultant will assist IUCN and the EAC Partner States in collating the relevant information for the EAC State of Protected Areas report. Apply before 10 August.


In 2015 the East African Community Secretariat became the host of the Observatory for Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management that serves the East African Community (EAC) countries. Following a regional kick-off meeting to introduce the EAC Observatory to users and providers, a series of national engagements has been taking place in the EAC countries since the last quarter of 2015. Read more


Every day, information available on protected areas is guiding the decisions on their management, as well as their contribution to the wider national, regional and global strategies and policies for conservation and sustainable development. Knowing that, despite all efforts, the decline in biodiversity in some countries and regions has not slowed down, how do we ensure easy access to and a high quality of information needed to take the best decisions? Read about EU and ACP's solution and how it works in practice in one of the BIOPAMA regions at this link.


The Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, with support from UNDP Zambia and in collaboration with the Sustainability Challenge Foundation (SCF), is hosting the Regional Programme on the Management of Sustainability for Zambia, a negotiation training for protected area stakeholders based on the Mutual Gains Approach, in Lusaka from 15 – 20 November 2015. The programme builds on the BIOPAMA course curriculum developed for protected areas.


The Biodiversity Information Standards (TDWG) held its 2015 annual conference from the 28th September to 1st October 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya. This was the 31st meeting of the TDWG group and it was held in Africa for the first time under the theme, “Applications, Standards and Capacity Building for Sustaining Global Biodiversity”. BIOPAMA’s concepts and tools were therefore presented to a global audience with a particular interest in biodiversity information, and attracted new potential partnerships with stakeholders in Eastern Africa.



Eastern and southern Africa is extremely rich in biodiversity, hosting seven global biodiversity hotspots and several centres of endemic species. It has the largest remaining populations of iconic wildlife left on the continent and is home to the migrations of herbivores in the Serengeti and of White-eared Kob gazelles in South Sudan, which are two of the most impressive wildlife spectacles on Earth. The coastal mountain range in the eastern part of Madagascar is an example of one of the most important global centers of endemic species.

The region’s diverse ecosystems, ranging from arid dry lands to moist tropical forests, encompass some of the most diverse landscapes and seascapes in the world, providing a wide range of services that are of vital importance to the livelihoods and economies of the region.

Main threats and challenges
This natural wealth is under pressure from a number of threats, including habitat loss and degradation, overexploitation of natural resources, climate change and invasive alien species. These threats are driven by high levels of poverty and population growth, growing global demands for natural resources, and weak capacity for environmental management. Current biodiversity conservation efforts in the region are inadequate to meet these challenges. In particular, the effectiveness of existing protected areas in conserving biodiversity must be improved and concerted efforts are needed to safeguard vital ecosystem services and maintain ecological connectivity.

Much of the focus of the region’s governments is directed towards immediate human needs linked to poverty alleviation and development, which often comes at the expense of longer term sustainability. This is manifested in changing land use, such as the introduction of biofuels, agriculture intensification and mining.
•    Protected areas (including Marine PAs) in the ESA region are directly and indirectly threatened by competing and/or conflicting land/resource use from e.g. large scale agriculture (or fisheries in the case of MPAs), infrastructure development or extractive industries.
•    In some cases, practices incompatible with biodiversity, such as mineral extraction, take place inside protected areas and in some extreme cases, there are threats of degazettement.
•    Large scale agriculture, irrigation schemes, fisheries operations etc. near protected area boundaries and in wildlife corridors result in human-wildlife conflicts (HWC) impacting negatively on some of the most iconic and valuable wildlife/marine species found in the protected areas of this region
•    Human-Wildlife Conflict and land/resource use conflict erode local support for protected areas, become highly politicised, and call into question the long term sustainability of PAs
•    Protected area managers and management authorities and environment ministries lack capacity and awareness to deal with these issues effectively; there are major needs for capacity building and awareness-raising of impacts and trade-offs of development activities and maintaining biodiversity and functional protected area networks
•    Protected areas are often undervalued in decision-making about land/resource use; there is a need to raise awareness on these issues targeting decision makers at highest levels and across different ministries.

Protected areas in the Eastern and Southern African region
Coverage of protected areas varies considerably between countries in this region: While Botswana, Eritrea, Tanzania and Zambia have dedicated over 25% of their territories to protected areas, less than 1% of the land area of the Comoros and Lesotho is protected. Overall, the Eastern and Southern African region has a long established system of protected areas, which originally were intended to protect large game species, but often excluded local people. In the 1980s, approaches to establishing and managing protected areas shifted towards more community-based models and joint management structures. However, many of the region’s protected areas remain “paper parks”, lacking the capacity to be effectively managed, and suffering from chronic funding constraints.