IUCN, RCMRD - the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development, and partners have officially launched the Regional Resource Hub and one of its flagship knowledge products, the most comprehensive analysis on the state of protected areas in Eastern and Southern Africa. The launch took take place on 24 November 2020 in the presence of Heads of Protected Area agencies, ministries responsible for protected areas and wildlife, high-level technical institutions, Regional Economic Communities and BIOPAMA donors and partners.
The Regional Resource Hub is a knowledge hub that compiles and analyses relevant data and provides information to support field interventions and policy dialogues, for fair and effective management and governance of protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The Regional Resource Hub acts as one of the regional observatories implemented by the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) Programme, and is hosted by the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) in Eastern and Southern Africa. The Hub includes an information system, co-developed with the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, which helps decision makers to track progress on conservation targets, and to manage and assess the protected and conserved areas in the region. Other similar hubs have been established with BIOPAMA’s support in Western and Central Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.
“Effective conservation, management and governance of protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa is crucial to our long-term economic growth and development. The establishment of this Regional Resource Hub is a great milestone as it will facilitate the provision of relevant information and data to support policies and effective decision-making on protected and conserved areas which are our invaluable natural heritage”, said Luther Bois Anukur, Regional Director, IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office.
"RCMRD is confident that the data and information availed in the Regional Resource Hub way in delivering useful information to make informed decisions, as the various stakeholders in conservation address the challenges that threaten our biodiversity", said Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza, Director General, Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development.
The knowledge generated by the Regional Resource Hub aims to support national governments, regional organisations, NGOs, communities and other organisations, in achieving their biodiversity conservation objectives and to report their progress on multilateral environmental agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, more accurately.
The “State of Protected and Conserved Areas in Eastern and Southern Africa” report is a flagship knowledge product of the Regional Resource Hub. Launched on the same occasion, this report makes a significant contribution to assessing the current status of the protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa and understanding their relevance to the societal needs.
“This report demonstrates how systems of protected and conserved areas are an essential conservation strategy for the region, without which the loss of biodiversity would have been much more significant. It also highlights the many gaps in understanding and implementation, and shows us just how challenging it is to achieve effective outcomes for nature conservation”, said Trevor Sandwith, Director, IUCN Global Protected and Conserved Areas Programme.