The East African Community and IUCN establish framework for Observatory for Protected Areas

4 June 2015. Arusha, Tanzania. The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat is now the host institution for a regional observatory to support more effective protected area management and biodiversity conservation in the region, made possible through a partnership recently signed with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) supported by the EU-funded Biodiversity and Protected Area Management (BIOPAMA) programme.

The BIOPAMA programme, financed by the 10th European Development Fund of the European Union and implemented by IUCN and partners, aims to assist countries to improve technical and institutional approaches to conserve biodiversity, and address threats to biodiversity in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries while also reducing poverty.

An Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity is being established in the East African Community Secretariat, located in Arusha, Tanzania, to provide decision- and policy-making support on protected areas and biodiversity, in particular within the landscape context in which they exist.

Wildebeest Migration - Serengeti National Park                  Wildebeest Migration, Serengeti National Park. Photo by Christine Mentzel

Supported by a regional reference information system (RRIS), the Observatory will be a central access point to authoritative data on protected areas, biodiversity and related information. It will provide free and open access to global and regional data and information on thematic areas such as land-use, biodiversity, protected areas, mineral deposits and publically accessible mining, oil and gas concessions.

“The observatory will provide relevant data and information that will enhance planning, policy, and decision-making. It will support effective protected area management and biodiversity conservation within the region, in line with the mandate of the environmental sector of the EAC that is to promote co-operation in the conservation and management of natural resources including trans-boundary resources,” said Ms. Wivine Ntamubano, Principal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, East African Community Secretariat.

The EAC Observatory is the first of several others planned for the Eastern and Southern African region and we are very excited about the opportunities for better decision-making that it will provide to the East African Partner States”, said Christine Mentzel, IUCN Senior Programme Officer and BIOPAMA Coordinator for the Eastern and Southern African region.

In addition to the free and open access to data and information, the Observatory will also provide support to the users of the system. An initial workshop to present the regional reference information system (RRIS) and train relevant staff of the Partner States in its functionalities and tools will be held in July 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

For more information contact: Ms. Wivine Y. Ntamubano, Principal Environment and Natural Resources Officer, EAC, WNtamubano@eachq.org, Tel: +255772856111

Ms. Christine Mentzel, Senior Programme Officer, IUCN, christine.mentzel@iucn.org, +27 74 452 0750

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