The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA), funded under the EC/ Intra ACP Envelope for Biodiversity, was officially launched and attracted international attention, through two high level events at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Republic of Korea.
The Congress offered a unique opportunity for all programme partners – IUCN, the European Commission (EC) Joint Research Centre (JRC), and the Multi-donor ABS Initiative managed by the German Development Agency (GIZ) – to meet and discuss progress on BIOPAMA’s implementation since the Project Inception Workshop held in IUCN-HQ in March 2012.
On the 10th of September, the Protected Planet Pavilion hosted an evening event to launch and celebrate a global partnership for protected area capacity development in which BIOPAMA will play an important role. This event provided the stage for announcing a new partnership between the IUCN Global Protected Areas Programme (GPAP), the IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity (SCBD) for improving protected area capacity development. The CBD’s Executive Secretary Braulio Dias noted in his intervention:
“BIOPAMA is an initiative that helps, in some key regions of the world, to enhance capacity building to promote more effective management of protected areas and more participation of local communities.”
During an international press conference held earlier on the same day, representatives from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries discussed the contributions BIOPAMA can make to improving protected areas management as nature-based solutions to address the challenges derived from climate change whilst supporting the livelihoods of local communities in their regions. Panelists included Grethel Aguilar, Director of IUCN’s Regional Office for Mesoamerica, Hon. Jesca Eriyo, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community Secretariat, who was later elected as an IUCN Council member, and Tui Ratu Aisea Katonivere, Indigenous Traditional Leader from Fiji.
Tui Katonivere stated that “BIOPAMA can build on the existing networks of marine protected areas and local programmes in the Pacific, where 80 % of land and marine areas are customary owned. It will be crucial that the communities are high in the BIOPAMA capacity building priorities.”
Apart from the official celebration at the pavilion, the programme partners hosted several events during the World Conservation Forum on topics linking to BIOPAMA, such as a workshop on protected area governance organized by the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, GPAP, WCPA, ICCA Consortium and other members, a workshop on Access and Benefit Sharing, convened by GIZ, or JRC’s pavilion event on the Digital Observatory on Protected Areas (DOPA), which provides a wide range of data on protected areas and will be used to support conservation activities within BIOPAMA’s framework.
The Protected Planet Pavilion was also the venue for numerous other events on protected area capacity development, putting BIOPAMA at the forefront of IUCN actions for strengthening protected areas as a means to improve conservation of nature in line with the objectives of the IUCN Programme 2013-2016 adopted in Jeju.
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, there was an impressive participation of over 800 representatives from ACP countries, demonstrating the high relevance of conservation issues for these regions and the interest in IUCN’s work to support their efforts.
The Congress was a very useful occasion for the partners to advance the discussions on BIOPAMA and develop greater internal synergies within and beyond the scope of BIOPAMA. They emphasized the current enthusiasm around the programme, but also the need to move forward with roll-out in the three regions.
The next steps in BIOPAMA’s implementation will be the first set of regional workshops, scheduled to take place in late 2012 and early 2013, which will determine priority actions for each of the regions. BIOPAMA will also be showcased during CBD-COP 11 at a side event organized by IUCN, JRC and UNEP-WCMC that will take place on 12 October.