World Commission on Protected Areas

WCPA East and Southern Africa

A buffalo in Kruger National Park, South Africa

IUCN WCPA Regional Vice-Chair East and SoJohn Waithakauthern Africa



Countries of the region
Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea,Ethiopia,Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Namibia, Réunion, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe


Protected areas in the region are recognised and valued both as cornerstones for conserving nature, and as natural solutions to local, national and regional challenges, providing ecosystem services that are crucial to human wellbeing and life on earth.


  1. Support efforts to expand and manage protected areas and Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures to achieve the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, in particular through meeting Aichi Target 11;

  2. Promote protected areas as natural solutions to national, regional and global challenges such as climate change, land degradation, food and water security, health and wellbeing;

  3. Make the case for investment in protected area, supported by public policy, incentives, capacity development and sustainable funding;

  4. Inspire all people to experience and value the wonders of nature through protected areas and to support the conservation of natural ecosystems;

  5. Support efforts to raise the standards and practices of protected area governance and management in the region.


  • Communicating the values and benefits of protected areas with the aim to promote and stimulate public support, participation and investment in protected areas;

  • Implementing key global commitments, especially the Aichi Biodiversity Target 11, the Green List of Protected Areas and the Key Biodiversity Areas;

  • Development of appropriate policies and guidelines to support management of protected areas, with particular emphasis on privately protected areas, community conserved areas and Other Effective Area Based Conservation Measures;

  • Strengthening protected area capacity, governance an management effectiveness.

In order to effectively address these priorities, the WCPA membership will be broadened and strengthened, and ecollaboration and networks between and amongst partners and stakeholders enhanced.

Key issues

The 24 countries of east and southern Africa are endowed with a rich and unique natural heritage, including a wide range of landscapes and seascapes, species and ecosystems. Extending from the Horn of Africa to the southmost tip of Africa, and including the Western Indian Ocean Islands, the region contains some unique biodiversity resources and many centres of species endemism.

Protected areas represent one of the most positive, tangible and enduring demonstration of the region’s commitment to long-term protection of these resources. However, despite being models of environmental stewardship and an important legacy to be preserved for present and future generations, these areas are experiencing nearly all the critical challenges facing conservation today. Among them are poaching, loss of biodiversity, climate change, ecological isolation, chronic under-funding, inadequate legislation and policies, poor governance, weak institutions, inadequate human capacity, human wildlife conflict, and lack of appropriate information to aid management. In a few countries, political instability and armed conflicts continue to affect the management of protected areas.

The WCPA Programme advocates for the use of management approaches that engage all partners and stakeholders in seeking solutions to these complex issues, and to address them in a holistic and integrated manner.

Over the next four years, the Programme will focus on the development and provision of scientific and technical advice and policy to help conserve a healthy system of protected areas that are ecologically representative, effectively-managed and equitably-governed.

Future plans

  • Encourage the expansion of management effectiveness assessments with the goal to assess all protected areas in each country.

  • Establishment of a collaborative framework for addressing climate change challenges and transboundary and connectivity issues.

  • Assessment of the value, costs and benefits of protected areas in at least three key protected areas in each country

  • Organize the first African Parks Congress to assess progress towards implementation of the Promise of Sydney and other important regional issues

  • Establish a WCPA Regional Newsletter

Go to top