African approaches to tackling climate change: putting protected area solutions to work

A new publication launched today at the UN climate change conference in Paris highlights specific examples of how African protected areas can help communities and ecosystems adapt to climate change.

Children's vision of their environment and landscape in Bombassa, Republic Democratic of Congo

The book, African Solutions, includes a selection of solutions – offered by African marine and terrestrial protected areas – to reduce climate vulnerability and increase natural and community resilience. It demonstrates that effective nature-based solutions to climate change can be implemented through local and regional actions that bring benefits to both biodiversity conservation and community resilience.

Africa is one of the continents most affected by climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the rate of climate change in Africa is faster than previously predicted, while the vulnerability of its people and ecosystems is high.

Africans have coped with unpredictable and highly variable environments over millennia, and many countries and communities have developed nature-based solutions for adapting to environmental uncertainty. Protected areas can play a key role in securing healthy ecosystems, which provide natural barriers to disasters, store carbon and support local communities.

The new publication showcases solutions from the Comoros, Madagascar, Kenya, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria and South Africa, including mangrove conservation, public-private partnerships, community participation, forest protection, restoration and other approaches.

For example, to address climate change impacts in six Kenyan national parks, Parks Canada and Kenya Wildlife Service have been working together to remove invasive species, restore degraded habitats and train park staff and communities on climate change adaptation activities.

In South Africa’s Western Cape province, the protected area network has been expanded to provide a buffer against climate change impacts, such as shifts in species distribution. Sites that play an increasingly important role in climate change adaptation have been identified, such as cooler, south-facing slopes, where some plant and animal species migrate as their original habitat becomes too hot. Many of these sites have been put under protection through agreements with private landowners.

The publication is part of IUCN’s Panorama initiative, which assembles case studies showcasing how protected areas can provide solutions to some of today’s global challenges, including climate change. It was produced under the IUCN-French partnership, funded by Agence Française de Développement (AFD). It is available in English and French.

Download the publication here.


Work area: 
Climate Change
Environmental Law
Global Policy
Protected Areas
East and Southern Africa
West and Central Africa
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