As the 2019 landmark report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warns, the current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystem services may undermine progress towards 80% of the Sustainable Development Goals related to marine and terrestrial biodiversity, but also to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities and climate. Due to land degradation, Africa is already losing an area equivalent to 2/3 of the area of Germany every year. Loss of biodiversity is therefore not only an environmental issue, but also a developmental, economic, security, social and moral issue.
Protected and conserved areas make an essential contribution to safeguarding nature and the services it provides. Currently, approximately 10% of the Earth’s surface is formally protected. As the global economy and population continues to grow, the demand for resources and land and hence pressures on protected areas increase drastically. This comes at a time when many protected areas in Africa and elsewhere already lack resources and capacities for effective conservation management.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas represents a global standard of best practice for fair and effective protected area management. It acts as incentive and offers a stepwise programme that can help make protected areas fit for the future by identifying and addressing weaknesses and thus secure past successes and future investments. Currently, 40 areas in 14 countries are listed worldwide, 5 of them in African countries (Kenya and Egypt).
Having embarked on an IUCN Green List certification process itself, and the establishment of a natural protected area system with national parks at its core, China can pass on expertise, good practices and lessons learnt to African cooperation partners. This expertise lies principally with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA). Moreover, China can lever impact through its role as host country to the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP-15) in 2021 and its following CBD presidency, communicating the experiences and results of the triangular cooperation to a wider audience.
Germany is among the world’s leading donors for biodiversity conservation, and Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) in particular has long been committed to the conservation of African biodiversity through effectively and equitably managed protected areas. Germany pursues a development-oriented approach to nature conservation, focused on people issues. Promoting the conservation of biodiversity and related ecosystem services in accordance with the rights and development needs of indigenous and other local communities is a core concern of German international cooperation.
The project aims at improving the quality of protected area management and governance in the African partner countries through the implementation of the ‘IUCN Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas’.
In Africa, the cooperation project is open to committed partner countries with high interest in better protected area management and in the green listing process. So far, Namibia and Zambia are joining forces with China and Germany in this project. Implementation is coordinated by IUCN.
The triangular partnership setting shall ensure contributions from China and Germany to better management of protected areas in Africa but also facilitate a peer exchange among African partners.
Political partners of the project are:
Ministry of Environment and Tourism of the Republic of Namibia
Ministry of Tourism and Arts of the Republic of Zambia
Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China; National Forestry and Grassland Administration
Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of the Federal Republic of Germany
Implementing partners are:
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Directorate of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP), Namibia
Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Zambia
Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
KfW Development Bank
The project approach comprises the following two phases:
Phase I: November 2020 – October 2021
Building capacities and first assessments for the IUCN Green List Standard
Identification and training of National Expert Assessment Group members, adaptation of the Green List Standard to national conditions.
Site-level assessments of planning, management, governance and conservation outcomes of selected protected areas according to the IUCN Green List methodology.
Identification of opportunities for improvement.
Technical guidance by IUCN and CAF will allow this process to advance efficiently.
Phase II: November 2021 – October 2023
Improving planning, governance and management of protected areas by addressing gaps identified
With the beginning of Phase II, Green List implementation (assessments) will be expanded to additional protected areas.
In parallel and subsequently, opportunities for improvement identified through the Green List process will be addressed through specific activities (e.g. capacity development, advisory work). These activities will improve the quality and effectiveness of protected areas management and governance, with the co-benefit of bringing those areas closer to successful certification.
Knowledge Sharing and Replication
Reciprocally sharing experience and expertise among all partners both through and on the Green List process itself is a key element of the cooperation.
State of implementation
The project has started in November 2020. Overall project duration is anticipated until October 2023 with a possibility of expansion to additional protected areas or countries in phase 2.
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