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The Inaugural IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress Officially Relaunched

The Government of Rwanda will in March 2022 host the inaugural IUCN (www.IUCN.org) Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) to discuss conservation of the continent’s protected areas. This comes after the relaunch of APAC in Kigali, Rwanda on 20th April 2021.

The congress which will be held from 7th – 12th March 2022 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) (www.AWF.org) in collaboration with partners.

Speaking at the relaunch event, the Chief Guest Dr Jeanne d'Arc Mujawamariya, the Minister of Environment – Republic of Rwanda said: “Having been an IUCN Member since 2016, Rwanda is very proud to take up the global conservation leadership mantle and become the first African country to host the African Protected Area Congress. The Government of Rwanda recognizes the role of protected and conserved areas in ensuring the conservation of nature, sustaining ecosystem services and promoting sustainable development. We are indeed hopeful that through these efforts and deliberations obtained through the congress, Rwanda and the rest of Africa will be on the right trajectory towards recovery of our protected and conserved areas.”

Key conservation organizations and development partners have been actively engaged in the planning process for APAC, the first of its kind continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, businesses and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature and promoting sustainable development in Africa.

Deliberations convened around the themes Protected areas, People and Biodiversity aim to generate pathways that build and empower the current and the next generation of leaders to realize an African future where wildlife and wildlands are valued as an asset that contributes to development.

Luther Anukur, IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said: “Protected and conserved areas play an important role in securing the resilience of ecosystems to help Africa build back better from COVID-19 and to reduce risks of future pandemics. APAC is a joint effort from conservation partners and African leaders. It is expected to contribute to 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.”

“One major lesson we have drawn from the past year is that overnight transformational change is possible. A different world, a different economy is suddenly dawning. Through this continental partnership, Africa will be able to present a unified front towards delivering a lasting balance between people, prosperity and our planetary boundaries. African Wildlife Foundation takes great pride in the central role we are playing to raise an African constituency in conservation and this congress is one of the major steps towards achieving this,” said AWF CEO, Kaddu Sebunya.

Through the congress, all partners hope to achieve African leadership commitment towards creating a unified African voice in conservation that will value African people and nature through effective protected areas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF).

Editor’s Notes: The APAC initiative will enhance the status of conservation in Africa by engaging Governments, the Private Sector, Civil Society, Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities, and Academia to shape Africa’s Agenda for Protected and Conserved Areas to better deliver benefits for people and nature.

The Africa Protected Area Congress will be held in Kigali, Rwanda in March 2022. Further details on the participation, venue and duration will be released in subsequent communication after the launch.

Media contact: For interviews and media queries contact Caroline Nyamamu at Caroline.Nyamamu@iucn.org or Wambui Odhiambo of AWF at wodhiambo@awf.org

About IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas: IUCN's World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) is the world's premier network of protected area expertise, administered by IUCN's Global Programme on Protected Areas. WCPA works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors; by providing strategic advice to policy makers; by strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and by convening the diverse constituency of protected area stakeholders to address challenging issues.

About African Wildlife Foundation: The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.