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APAC 2022:It’s Time To Make a Strong Case For African Leadership in Protected Areas

 Kigali, Rwanda (19 July 2022) - WWF is calling for ambitious commitments to create effectively managed, governed, and well-funded conserved areas that safeguard the livelihoods of the people around them at the IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) taking place in Kigali, Rwanda next week. Happening from 18th to 23rd July 2022, the IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (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. WWF believes that protected areas must contribute to nature conservation, climate adaptation and mitigation and advance the well-being of Indigenous Peoples and local communities. 



Alice Ruhweza, WWF Africa Region Director, said: “Africa is on the front line of the crises in climate and nature. Africa’s protected and conserved areas are of great ecological, social, economic and cultural importance, providing resources that support communities and enable pathways for adaptation to climate change. We are calling for stronger recognition of the role of protected and conserved areas in climate change adaptation and mitigation  and consolidation of scientific, traditional knowledge and best practices on the nexus between protected and conserved areas (P&CAs), biodiversity, people and climate change.”



Marco Lambertini, WWF Director-General, said: "Biodiversity loss is one of the critical challenges of our time. Conserving, restoring and sustainably managing the natural spaces left on the planet, are all key elements of becoming a nature-positive society. WWF is committed to refining and strengthening its support for area-based conservation, particularly protected area management, at a time when governments are discussing a global target of protecting at least 30% of the world’s land, ocean and freshwater systems. To deliver such an ambitious conservation target, WWF is also committed to promoting an inclusive rights-based approach to conservation that balances the needs of people and the planet through local engagement, ownership, and joint accountability. We welcome and share the objectives of APAC, looking at protected and conserved areas as a key tool to address climate change and support the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals."



Managing protected areas is a critical tool for conserving the world's biodiversity and combating climate change and also forms the basis of WWF's goals and initiatives. Globally, scientists have recently confirmed that as many as 1 million species are at risk of extinction, across the globe, including average population declines of 68% globally and 65% in Africa. WWF has a global target to protect 30% of all global habitats through enhanced connectivity and effective management of protected and conserved areas, including those managed by Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities. Such a target requires a combination of approaches and strategies, including community-conserved areas and working landscapes that are sustainably used, among others.



WWF strongly believes conservation has never been at odds with Africa’s economic and social development aspirations. Nature and conservation are an encompassing and inclusive endeavour of people of all walks of life. Up to 50% of the wealth in most African countries comes from natural capital and assets, with around 70% of Africa’s population dependent on nature for their livelihoods.  Marco Lambertini further said, “WWF joins many other groups, governments and businesses in advocating for the world’s leaders to adopt a nature-positive global mission at the forthcoming COP15 of the UN Convention of Biological Diversity. A mission that commits to have more nature at the end of this decade than at its start, through conservation, restoration and sustainable management of species, habitats and natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations, and all life on Earth ”.




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