The Head of the Global Species Programme, Dr Jane Smart, recently visited the Eastern and Southern Africa Region. Dr. Smart, who is also the Director of the Biodiversity Conservation Group, first visited the ESARO Regional Office in Nairobi and held discussion with the Regional Director ad interim, Hasting Chikoko, and other staff on a range of topics. She also made a presentation on the Species Programme and the Red List process to staff, local IUCN members and Commission members, and met IUCN partners
Dr Smart then accompanied IUCN’s Global Invasive Species Coordinator, Geoffrey Howard, to Zambia to visit members and partners there and to learn about Zambia’s UNEP-GEF project “Removing barriers to the management of Invasive Plants in Africa”.
While in Zambia, the team made an aerial survey of the infestation of the invasive shrub, Mimosa pigra, on the Kafue Flats – which were inundated by the annual flood. The project pilot field sites infested with Lantana camara amongst the “rain forest” of the Victoria Falls were also visited to see the clearance of the invasion and the return of native vegetation – as well as preparations for enhancing the restoration of previously invaded areas. The sites are within the Mosi-oa-tunya National Park as well as inside the joint Zambia-Zimbabwe World Heritage Site.
Dr Smart returned to Kenya and held further meetings with IUCN partners and officiated at the opening of an IUCN Species Programme Red Listing training workshop in Nairobi.
Mr. Chikoko said of the visit: “Dr. Smart’s visit is in keeping with the “One Programme” approach that IUCN is encouraging. ESARO is urging secretariat staff, members and commissions to interact with the different components of the union whenever they visit the region.’’