An Expanding Role for Environmental Law in Eastern and Southern Africa

08 July 2010 | News story

In recent decades, biodiversity and natural resource conservation has surfaced from being a relatively special interest topic to one of the eminent issues of our time. Probably nowhere is the need for stronger environmental protection laws and procedures greater than in least-developed countries (LDCs), such as in many parts of tropical Asia and Africa, home to significant percentages of the world’s biodiversity.

Although environmental law is a relatively new field in much of Africa, many concepts have existed independently in sectors like protected areas, species protection and water conservation. The IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO) has been a major regional player in developing these areas of environmental protection, and the Environmental Law Centre (ELC) looks forward to working more closely with ESARO on overlapping areas of work.

On Thursday, July 1, Ms. Mine Pabari, Regional Programme Coordinator for IUCN ESARO, visited the ELC to plan a joint ELC/ESARO climate adaptation law project that will be implemented in Tanzania, Zambia and Mozambique over the next two years. Ms. Pabari also gave a lunchtime presentation on ESARO's expanding work portfolio since the recent merger of IUCN's Eastern and Southern African regional offices, and answered questions from ELC staff about areas for potential collaboration between the ELC and ESARO.

The meeting helped to identify opportunities for integrating ESARO and ELC work in transboundary protected areas, invasive species and biofuels, REDD+, rights-based approaches to conservation and freshwater issues.