Threatened natural areas in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are set to benefit from a unique partnership between the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the European Commission and German Development Cooperation (GIZ).
The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) is an initiative of the Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific Group of States funded by the European Union through its European Development Fund. It is a 20 million Euro (28.1 Billion South Korean Won) effort to develop capacity in the three regions for biodiversity conservation. BIOPAMA will also be supported by the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries are home to extremely rich natural and human diversity, including nearly 2.2 million square kilometres of state, community managed and other protected areas. These countries are also host to 11 of 25 of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and at least 220 different indigenous groups. The protection and sustainable use of these diverse regions’ natural resources, however, is under threat due to lack of information and capacity to plan and effectively manage them.
BIOPAMA will address this challenge by providing skills, tools, training and information to conservation managers, policy makers, indigenous and local communities, training institutions, universities and the private sector. This will enable protected areas in these countries to be more effectively managed, while garnering the benefits from their use. BIOPAMA will contribute to improving implementation of global and national nature conservation policies in the framework of the three objectives (conservation, sustainable use and sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources) of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
“Better conserving and valuing our biodiversity can help reduce poverty and provide benefits for local and national development,” said Grethel Aguilar, Director of the IUCN Regional Office in Mesoamerica, which will be helping to implement BIOPAMA’s Caribbean efforts. “BIOPAMA will, for example, help provide protected area managers and conservation staff in the Caribbean with the skills, knowledge and networks they need to conserve biodiversity, in turn benefiting the region’s diverse communities.”
BIOPAMA will provide technical support and advice to policy makers and protected area agencies as well as to all relevant stakeholders. Furthermore, conservation observatories will be established in the regions to facilitate networking, serve as training centres, coordinate policy and develop and implement regionally tailored protected areas awareness programmes. Existing training centres will also benefit from support for improving their curricula and capacities.
BIOPAMA runs initially for four years starting in 2012. BIOPAMA has two main components – one on protected areas implemented by IUCN and the European Commission and another on access to and sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources implemented by the multi-donor Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Capacity Development Initiative managed by GIZ.