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Biodiversity Programme


Activities of the Biodiversity Unit includes: participation and contributions to enhance Africa’s biodiversity and ecosystems in and outside protected areas, as well as in Post conflict Assessments and implantation of the Bali Strategic Plan for Capacity building and Technology support.

 Concerted Initiative on West Africa’s Forests: 
UNEP contributed to the Sub-Regional Workshop on Sustainable Forestry management Initiative of the West African forests. The objective of the meeting was to discuss and lay foundation for setting up defining priorities for the initiative, including development programme of action for Sustainable Forestry in West Africa forests, and roles and responsibilities of actors. UNEP contributed to writing the report of the meeting. The meeting held in Burkina Faso, was attended by representatives of sub-regional organizations including: Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), Economic and Monetary Union of West Africa (UEMOA), Permanent Inter-State Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS), The World Conservation Union (IUCN), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), International Centre for Research on Agro-Forestry (ICRAF), Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Flora and Fauna International (FFI), among others. A follow up meeting was held in November 2007.

Sub Regional Workshop on the Sustainable Management of the West African Forests Resources.
[English] [Français]

Towards a West Africa Dialogue on Forests - Synthesis Report of the First West African Forest Consultation Meeting
Ouagadougou, 3rd - 4th July 2006
[Summary] [Full Report]

Further Resources
International Day for Biological
Diversity - 22 May 2007

UNEP Resources on Biodiversity

Convention on Biological Diversity

Project on Indigenous Vegetation Change:
The project on “Capacity Building for Biodiversity Conservation in Mountain Ecosystems and River Basins in East Africa” focused on indigenous vegetation change. This project was a jointly implemented by UNEP and WWF-Eastern Africa Regional Programme Office, targeted two mountain areas: the Ruwenzori Mountains (Uganda) and Mau Forest (Kenya). Efforts were geared towards capacity-building for the promotion of community-based biodiversity protection and conservation in mountain ecosystems in East Africa, including major river basins, through best practices in land management. It also involved working in close partnership with relevant organizations at local and national levels, and with private sector.  Three reports are available titled:

1. Water Towers of Eastern Africa: Policy, issues and vision for community-based protection and management of mountain forests,
2. Proceedings of the Regional workshop on the conservation of Eastern Africa Mountain Ecosystems as Water Towers; and
3. Conservation of Water Towers: Eastern Africa Mountain Ecosystems. This document contains a Regional Vision, goal objectives and a conceptual framework for the conservation of Eastern Africa mountain ecosystems.

Transfrontier Conservation:
UNEP supports efforts by the governments of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe who are working jointly towards the establishment of as the Kavango-Zambezi, a Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), measuring some 300,000km2 of prime tourism destination and other compatible land-use. The initiative aims at conservation and sustainable use biological resources in trans-boundary ecosystems. UNEP is collaborating with Roots of Peace and Conservation International to develop and implement a programme to open a wildlife corridor which will enhance conservation of wildlife and stimulate economic development, in Eastern Angola. UNEP is also working with KAZA secretariat and liaison with SADC in the programme.

Management of Protected Areas:
UNEP supported the hosting of the 2007 African Wildlife Conference, held in Nairobi, from 18-20 April 2007. The Conference theme focused on “Research Imperatives for Biodiversity conservation and management”. The objective of the conference aimed at mainstreaming science and research into decision making in protected areas and landscape conservation and management through strengthening technical and scientific capabilities of African wildlife institutions and scientists, for enhanced biodiversity management, policy development and systems planning. The conference also sought to bring together protected Area managers, experts and scientists from the countries to exchange, ideas, experiences, and modern approaches to protected area management. Participants were from Africa region countries: Botswana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Sudan, Cameroon, Namibia, Ethiopia, Congo Brazzaville, and guest participants from other countries including: Canada, USA, Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Sweden, and Nepal.

Support to Democratic Republic of Congo:
UNEP is also working with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo to address environmental issues and challenges in the country. Areas slated for support include:

  1. Support to the Ministry of Environment in developing and implementing environmental policy and law. bearing in mind the forthcoming  international investments;
  2. Support to key stakeholders involved in the conservation of mountain gorillas in Virunga national park as a follow-up to the UNESCO-IUCN-UNEP mission in early August 2007; and the DEWA case study on environment, conflict and prevention.
  3. Support to humanitarian actors in identifying and mitigating environmental risks from IDP camps around Virunga National Park.
  4. Support to the UN country team in mainstreaming environment within the country assistance framework as part of UNEP’s commitment to the One UN concept.

Great Lakes Process:
 UNEP - ROA participates in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (IC/GLR), comprising member countries: Angola, Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Republic of Congo, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. The objective of the International Conference, co-organized by the United Nations and the African Union, was to establish a regional framework for adopting a Stability, Security and Development Pact around four main themes namely: Peace and Security; Democracy and Good Governance; Economic Development and Regional Integration; and Humanitarian and Social issues. Protocols and programmes of action, and projects were prepared around these thematic areas, presented to the 2nd   summit of the Heads of State and Government held on 14 -15 December 2006.
The IC/GLR Process was undertaken in two phases. UNEP participated in both Phases I and II of the process: During Phase I, environmental issues and implications were discussed at the preparatory meetings and incorporated in various preparatory documents as well as the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on the basis of UNEP’s contribution. The contribution of UNEP during Phase II was essentially the mainstreaming/integration of environmental issues into the Programmes of Action, especially into prioritized projects and protocols including capacity building and technology support at national and sub-regional levels. UNEP continues to provide advisory services to the GLR, in the management of natural resources, Assessment, Restoration and Rehabilitation of Environment and in strengthening institutions in Early Warning and Assessment, Environmental Law and Conventions, and develop capacity for environmental compliance.

Conservation of lesser flamingos in the Rift Valley lakes in East Africa:
UNEP- ROA is implementing a project that will explore possible causes of recent mortalities of lesser flamingos in the Rift Valley lakes in East Africa. The project aims to come up with strategies to address the declining lesser Flamingo populations and lay a foundation for the sustainable management of the Rift Valley Lakes’ ecosystems and related water catchments areas. Conservation of Flamingoes is critical because of their unique concentration, is the main attraction for tourism. However, the flamingoes are regarded as flagship and indicator species for the Lakes’ ecosystem health and ecological integrity. The status and trends of the flamingo populations and densities are a reflection of the hydrology and land use systems within the catchments.  Mitigating the challenges affecting the conservation of flamingoes would have added value effect on the conservation of all other species both within the lakes and the wider catchment. The Rift Valley lakes are critical conservation areas for water birds. More than 300 species of water birds have been recorded in some of the lakes in the past. The Lakes that are critical for the maintenance of the Flamingo populations include Nakuru, Bogoria, Elementaita, Oloidien, Manyara and Natron. This Project received funding from Dr Luo Hong from China. A literature Review Report, a National Flamingo Action plan for Kenya and the Proceedings of the Flamingo multi- disciplinary/stakeholder consultative workshop are being published.

Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora: 
Jointly with the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions, UNEP, the ROA also provided technical support to the secretariat of The Parties to the Lusaka Agreement on Cooperative Enforcement Operations Directed at illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora (LATF). Areas support included development of LATF’S Strategic Plan for 2005-2015, Financial Strategy, Partnership arrangements, and Programme of Work for 2006-2007.

For more information on the activities of the Biodiversity Office please contact:

Nehemiah Rotich,
Senior Programme Officer - Biodiversity,
UNEP Regional Office for Africa (ROA)

Phone :(254 20) 762 4630
Email: nehemiah.rotich@unep.org
Angèle Luh- Sy,
Information Officer,
UNEP Regional Office for Africa,

Tel: (254 20) 762 4292,
E-mail: Angele.Luh@unep.org