The Regional Center for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN ESARO have signed an implementation agreement for the development of a Regional Resource Hub (RRH) under the Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) Programme. The Director General of RCMRD, Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza and the Regional Director for IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) Mr. Luther Bois Anukur signed the implementation agreement in September 2019 at the RCMRD offices in Nairobi.

The BIOPAMA programme that runs from 2017-2023 is an initiative of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States financed by the European Union (EU)’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF) and implemented by IUCN and the Joint Research Centre (JRC). It is a 60 million Euro investment, aimed at reinforcing the management and governance of protected and conserved areas in 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries through better use and monitoring of information and capacity building on management and governance.

A central pillar of BIOPAMA’s work is establishing regional observatories to support data collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting, developing the capacities of staff and organisations to manage information and provide policy guidance for better decision making on biodiversity conservation.  In Eastern and Southern Africa the regional observatory is called the BIOPAMA Regional Resource Hub (RRH)

Specifically, the implementation agreement is for hosting of the RRH for the BIOPAMA programme to enhance partnerships in innovation, the provision of relevant data and tools, information and services, to promote capacity building, knowledge sharing and technical expertise and to contribute to effective, equitable and sustainable management and governance of protected and conserved areas.

IUCN and RCMRD share similar objectives in terms of utilizing science for better management of natural resources. The ongoing relationship with the Joint Research Center (JRC) for technical exchanges provide a platform where the three institutions come together to achieve this important milestone to deliver products that are beneficial to the region through the BIOPAMA programme.” Said Dr. Nkurunziza, Director General RCMRD.

IUCN is an organisation that places a high importance on knowledge management and evidence-based decision-making; BIOPAMA presents an excellent opportunity to help the region enhance knowledge management by making available the necessary data, tools and analyses including the well-known knowledge products of IUCN such as the Green List of Protected Areas and the Red List of Threatened Species.” said Mr. Anukur, Regional Director, IUCN ESARO.

He further added that the signing of the agreement with RCMRD presents an important milestone for BIOPAMA in the region.

The Deputy Ambassador of the EU delegation in Kenya, Ms Katrina Hagemann, also attended the signing ceremony. She acknowledged that EU's support to enhance cross regional collaboration would be fostered through the partnership between RCMRD and IUCN.   She noted that The regional experience and expertise of RCMRD complements the IUCN-JRC partnership.

 “Promoting a regional approach via regional observatories is critical in addressing biodiversity and infighting transnational crime, as national boundaries are no hurdles to those running illegal trade, neither should they be for those who work to put them out of business. For this reason, countries need to partner to implement policies taking into account cross-border issues; and they need to link up virtually through these regional observatories,” Said Ms. Hagemann

There are many great portals, online resources and excellent tools but no one-stop-shop to easily access accurate and up-to-date data on the status of protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa, It is the aim of BIOPAMA to make this happen,” Said IUCN’s Regional Technical Coordinator for the Conservation Areas and Species Programme, Mr. Leo Niskanen.

He added that BIOPAMA will ensure that the investments made during the lifetime of the programme are sustained beyond the project end date. “In this context, we have full confidence in our partner RCMRD, who are uniquely placed, to not only establish and develop the Regional Resource Hub (RRH), but also to help ensure its sustainability.” Mr. Niskanen added.

What RRH offers

Regional Reference Information System
The ESA HUB has a regional reference information system that is free, secure and built using open source technologies. It hosts a broad range of data that can be stored and used, such as field data, indicators, satellite imagery, maps, photos, surveys and documents.

Knowledge Products
The ESA HUB provide information and knowledge products that allow conservation actors, donors and decision makers to access the most updated and comprehensive information on protected areas and natural resources management at regional, national and site levels.

Capacity Building
We develop the capacity of stakeholders on protected and conserved area management effectiveness, governance, equity and data management. Most of the training opportunities are offered at Regional Level and the dates are announced at the Upcoming Events section.

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