July 15, 2024

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Kenya: IUCN launches the state of protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in collaboration of Kenya Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, has launched the report on the state of protected and conservation areas in Eastern and Southern Africa, second edition.

The event took place in Nairobi National Park as part of Africa Conservation Forum held in this country on 26-28 June 29, 2024 and was attended bythe Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife in Kenya, Dr. Alfred Mutua, Dr Erastus Kanga the director of Kenya Wildlife Services and the Director General of IUCN, Dr Grethel Aguilar.

The second edition of the state of protected and conserved areas (SoPACA 2) builds on the first edition published in 2020 and provides updates on how the region is managing and governing protected and conserved areas, effectively providing a regional update on the progress towards the achievement of Target 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).

It has included Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to ensure that all Partner States of the East African Community are included under one report.

This report provides a global overview of conservation and related policies and programmes, including those agreed at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity when the GBF was adopted in Montreal in December 2022, as well as a regional analysis of new and adjusted policies guiding protected and conserved areas.

“This IUCN forum has shown that we can work together, have the same spirit to put a particular agenda and I think this is something we should be proud of as Africans that we can be able to sit together and have a common purpose and a common voice. What we are doing in terms of conservation are critical in terms of not just for the future of the animal, plants but the future of humanity”, Dr Mutua said.

Dr Dr Grethel Aguilar expressed gratitude towards rangers of Nairobi National Park saying they are at the front line of conservation.

As a region, Eastern and Southern Africa is halfway to meeting the coverage goal of the Global Biodiversity Framework Target 3 with 17.24% of the terrestrial area protected in 5,544 protected and conserved areas covering 2,618,967 km2 (UNEP-WCMC & IUCN, 2023a), reads the report.

At least three countries in the region have exceeded the 30% coverage target (though it should be noted that this is not a national target for all countries) for terrestrial protection, according to their national reports.

Nonetheless, there is a high variability in the region with 38% of countries remaining below 10% on terrestrial coverage based on the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), while this figure can go as high as 42% based on national statistics.

Likewise, connectivity within the region exhibits significant disparities, ranging from less than 1% in Lesotho to over 36% in Seychelles. Connectivity assessments take into account the spatial arrangement, size, and extent of protected areas, accounting for the land area accessible within the protected area network for organisms with a median dispersal distance of 10 km (representative of many terrestrial vertebrates).

In Kenya there are more than thirty protected areas which cover eight per cent of the country. These protected areas are under management of Kenya Wildlife Services established in 1989. Nairobi National Park is a home for rhinos, hippos, lions, zebra, giraffes; birds like ostriches and many others.

Different dignitaries launching the state of protected and conserved areas in Eastern and Southern Africa Report

Director General of IUCN, Dr Grethel Aguilar, during the visit to Nairobi National Park
Rhinos are among wild animals found in Nairobi National Park
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