SADC REGIONAL MEETING ON EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES AND BIODIVERSITY (2-4 September 2014, Johannesburg, South Africa)
The SADC Secretariat in collaboration with the Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) Programme and the Pan-African Protected Areas Conservation (PAPACO) Programme will host a SADC regional meeting on extractive industries, from 2-4 September 2014, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
This meeting will be in line with the key action “Develop guidelines on the exploitation of natural resources such as minerals in reserve or protected areas” defined in the SADC Biodiversity Action Plan approved by Ministers responsible for Environment and Natural Resources in November 2013. It will bring together Ministries involved in regulation of biodiversity conservation and mineral and hydrocarbon exploitation, key private sector companies active in the region and selected experts to develop the Regional Best Practice Guidelines for the Exploitation of Mineral and Hydrocarbon Resources in the SADC Region.
OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:
- Negotiation skills development and dialogue for sustainable land use around Bale Mountatins National Park (15-19 September 2014, Bale Mountatins National Prak, Ethiopia)
- Regional Programme on the Management of Sustainability - short course on negotiation skills with a focus on Protected Areas (13-17 October 2014, location tbc).
How well do training programmes prepare conservation staff for the growing threats to protected areas in Eastern and Southern Africa? Are they equipped with the skills to engage other stakeholders and make the case for conservation in such a way that the biodiversity and the people of the region both win? As part of the long-term BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) capacity building initiatives for this region, representatives of both “the clients” (the Protected Areas Agencies) and the “service providers” (the training institutions) were invited to a dialogue on the issue of improving stakeholder engagement skills for protected areas management. The event took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, 19-21 August 2014.
In order to address the growing threat of land and resource use conflict around protected areas in Eastern and Southern Africa, BIOPAMA supports dialogue processes at various levels that aim to develop sustainable solutions to specific conflict situations, particularly with sectors and stakeholders active at the interface of protected areas. Two concrete examples are: the collaboration with SADC to develop guidelines on the development of extractive industries that consider protected areas and key biodiversity areas across Southern Africa, and the dialogue process for natural resource management in the Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia.
BIOPAMA Capacity Building Action Plan for ESA
The BIOPAMA Capacity Building Action Plan for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) is focused on addressing land and resource use conflicts in and around protected areas, with particular emphasis on working with other sectors, including extractive industries, infrastructure development, agriculture (both commercial and small-scale), marine and freshwater fisheries, and the broad spectrum of human-wildlife conflicts both within and outside protected area boundaries.
Read more on the dedicated page to the BIOPAMA Capacity Building Action Plan for ESA.
Eastern and Southern Africa: context, challenges and protected areas
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.