The Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) is looking for key players in the biodiversity and conservation sector to submit proposals to participate in the Congress scheduled to take place from 7th– 12th March 2022 in Kigali, Rwanda.
Protected areas are formally indicated as “land and/or sea areas specifically dedicated to the protection and preservation of biological diversity and related natural and cultural resources.”
APAC, which was relaunched in Kigali in April 2021, will be convened by the Government of Rwanda, the International Union for Conservation of Nature – World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN-WCPA), and the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) in collaboration with key conservation organizations and development partners.
APAC is the first ever continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions.
The Call for Proposals is designed to attract contributions from interested groups from across Africa, which focus on the APAC objectives, streams, and cross cutting themes.
The call is open to all who have an interest in contributing to the success of the APAC meeting which is estimated at $2.5billion worth.
Those targeted to be part of the Congress include governments, and government agencies, development agencies, private sector, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, Youth, Key interest groups and women.
The various types of events that interested groups can apply for include: High-level dialogues, Conservation Clinics, Knowledge Cafés, Technical Workshops, Conservations Campus (capacity building sessions), Pavilions and Social events.
APAC said in a press statement that it will focus selection of applications from Africa.
The Call for Proposals is expected to close on September 31st, 2021 and applications can be submitted in English, French, and Portuguese.
Rwanda’s Minister of Environment, Dr. Jeanne d’Arc Mujawamariya said African governments need to come together and discuss the protection of biodiversity in tandem with economic development.
“One of the key challenges we face as governments is to mobilize enough required funding and resources to deal with the biodiversity and protected areas management at large.
“A crucial point of discussion of this Congress will be funding and ways to diversify financing of wildlife economy activities, ultimately to support sustainability,” Mujawamariya said.
IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Luther Anukur said the received proposals will be a representation of all Africans and respective countries at the Congress, a move which has to be supported by respective governments.
“We are encouraging governments to support the participation of key stakeholders from each country. Our collective effort will contribute to achieving the vision of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 of “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the international arena,” Anukur said.
Africa Wildlife Foundation CEO, Kaddu Sebunya lauded Rwanda for taking lead in hosting and participating in APAC, which is key in driving the congress agenda of having government play a key role in preserving Protected Areas to set off sustainable economic development.