In West and Central Africa, BIOPAMA is progressing with its capacity development strategy, and one of the first key actions is to develop a training manual on how to collect, manage, and analyze data for monitoring protected areas management effectiveness. This was possible during a regional key partners’ workshop, held in Yaoundé, Cameroon, 23 -28 February 2015.
The BIOPAMA Capacity Development Strategy for West and Central Africa underlines the need for access to reliable information to guide decision making as one of the main protected area challenges of this region. This is why the focus of the BIOPAMA work in West and Central Africa is to identify and implement concrete actions to address this challenge, at the same time supporting the establishment and functioning of the Observatory for protected areas and biodiversity.
One of the objectives of this strategy is linked to improving the capacity of protected area practitioners to manage data and information, especially related to assessing management effectiveness. A new data collection methodology, jointly developed with OFAC (Central African Forestry Observatory) and RAPAC (Central African Protected Area Network), is being pilot tested across several countries in the region.
During the experts’ workshop, key regional BIOPAMA partners representing OFAC, RAPAC, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), RAMPAO (West African Marine Protected Area Network), ANPN (Gabonese National Agency for National Parks) and Réserve du Dja, joined the BIOPAMA team between 23 and 28 February in Yaoundé, to build the basis of a capacity development toolkit for protected areas for West and Central Africa. This toolkit concerns the methodology for data collection, management, and analysis, designed to support protected area decision making.
The capacity development toolkit is primarily for trainers who will directly support protected area managers. It is expected that as well as improving skills in data collection and management, protected areas managers will also be able to analyze data to provide management improvement proposals.
With data collection continuing at the country level in West and Central Africa to further test the data collection methodology, the results from these tests will further help to shape the development of the toolkit. The final product will be introduced to protected area trainers, in a workshop to take place in April 2015.