The IMET model taught in Benin’s universities

Developed by IUCN and JRC in the context of BIOPAMA and launched in 2015, the IMET (Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool) has been extensively endorsed by countries in West and Central Africa, as well as regional and international organizations operating in this region.

Benin is the most recent country to validate the IMET as the tool for assessing protected areas management effectiveness, by integrating IMET/COMIT modules in the national universities’ curricula for training future protected area managers. Read more

Bururi, the link between heaven and earth

The Bururi Forest Nature Reserve in Burundi was previously considered to be the link between heaven and earth. The ancient Burundians attached great importance to forest conservation, especially mountain forests. Several mountain forests were protected and used as a place of worship, while other forests served as a necropolis for Queen Mothers. Read about this inspiring place

TIme to assess the results

The BIOPAMA organized an assessment workshop on the use of monitoring, planning and IMET / COMIT capacity-building tools, with 11 coaches and key Program experts. The event took place in Douala, in November 17-19, 2016. With 69 protected areas supported, 250 national agency executives coming from 12 countries, and a recipient satisfaction rate of over 80%, the group was able to make an assessment of the elements to be improved for the next phase of funding. Read more...

BIOPAMA: delivering results since 2012

The BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management) Programme was launched in March 2012. Initiated by the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group with the support of the European Union, this programme has been delivering results on the ground for better conservation outcomes. Three implementing partners (IUCN, EC-JRC and the ABS Initiative), two components (protected areas and ABS- access and benefit sharing), three continents concerned, more than 400 staff trained and thousands of others interacting with the programme and its solutions for better protected area management. Discover BIOPAMA and its results in this short video.

BIOPAMA at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016

More than 10,000 top government officials, scientists and civil society leaders convened for the world’s largest environmental and nature conservation event, the IUCN World Conservation Congress, 1-10 September 2016, Hawai’i. The BIOPAMA programme was represented with 30 events and a team of 13 staff. Their results are outline in a new report of the BIOPAMA, European Union and Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group visibility at the IUCN Congress 2016. Read more here.

COMIT publication available in English

BIOPAMA’s capacity-development strategy in Central and West Africa aims to encourage the managers and administrators of the protected areas (PA) to use the regional information system, or Regional Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity. For 2015 2016, it calls for the training of “BIOPAMA coaches for protected areas” (hereby referred to as “coaches”) to incite PA field managers, as a matter of priority, and then the managers at the national and regional levels, to understand and use the Decision Support System (DSS) for the analysis, planning, monitoring and evaluation of biodiversity and PA management and governance. The present document (Coach Observatory Mission Information Toolkit (COMIT) of the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management (BIOPAMA) programme) is a pedagogical support tool aimed at helping coaches to carry out their training/support assignments using the IMET. Consult and download the publication.

Have your say in the Central African Observatory survey!

This survey is conducted by OFAC-COMIFAC and RAPAC, with BIOPAMA’s assistance, on the Protected Area sector's expectations of the Regional Observatory. if you are a leader in your country’s cultural, economic or political arena and are interested in nature, please reply via category 3 of the first survey question! If you work in the area of forestry, mining, agro industry, or are a traditional chief, please reply via Category 2. And if you are officials in charge of this matter at the Headquarters, please reply via Category 1. Respond to the survey...

Capacity development trainings in West Africa

At the request of the Ivorian Parks and Reserves, BIOPAMA will hold a training on the use of the IMET (Integrated Management Effectiveness Tool) on 4 - 5 April. It will be led by the coaches of the Regional Observatory of protected areas from Burkina Faso, Gabon and Republic of Congo. This theoretical formation will be followed by activities on the ground in the protected areas Banco, Comoé and Tai Sangbé.

An IMET training is scheduled in Dakar from 11 to 13 April with the participation of representatives of central administrations and conservators from 14 protected areas of Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea and Guinea Bissau. After the training, the coaches will offer local support in the four countries for the evaluation of protected areas and the development of proposals for improved management.


The most recent meeting of the Working Group on protected areas and wildlife of COMIFAC that took place at the end of May 2016 endorsed the IMET (Integrated Management Effectiveness) tool and encouraged further engagements of the Central African States for protected areas planning, monitoring and evaluation using this tool. The meeting recommended further steps to enhance the use of the IMET at the regional level. Read more


The IUCN situation analysis of terrestrial and freshwater fauna in West and Central Africa, launched in June 2015, is now available in French for consultation at this link.


A recent BIOPAMA capacity development training on the Observatory for Protected Areas and Biodiversity made possible the analysis of protected area data from the WAP Complex, based on the BIOPAMA form for the evaluation of protected area management effectiveness. The form is a tool for protected area managers to guide them in identifying key threats that require management attention, for improving the conservation status of the parks.


A new strategy intended to support the recommendations on capacity development included in the Promise of Sydney that resulted from the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 (IUCN WPC) has been completed. The IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) Strategic Framework for Capacity Development in Protected Areas and other Conserved Territories 2015-2025 (SFCD) is the result of a widespread programme of activities and consultations during 2013 and 2014 culminating in the IUCN WPC 2014. Consult the SFCD here.


IUCN and BIOPAMA participated in the 5th edition of the Central African Protected Areas Open Days 2015, which took place between 15 and 16 June 2015 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Visitors of the stand had the opportunity to learn more about BIOPAMA and what opportunities for engagement exist. The event was organized by RAPAC (Central African Protected Areas Network) and COMIFAC (Central African Forest Commission), in collaboration with the Congo Basin Forest Partnership.



The region hosts many highly endangered mammals, including Forest Elephants and Mountain Gorillas. Habitat types range from lush rain forest in the Congo Basin, the world’s second largest tropical forest, to the vast desert landscapes of the Southern Sahara.

Despite huge cultural and environmental diversity in West and Central African countries, there are many shared similarities throughout the region, dating back long in history.

Main threats and challenges

Poaching, as in many parts of Africa, is increasingly affecting large mammal species, reaching a sad peak with the slaughter of over 300 elephants in one area of Cameroon in early 2012. However, due to lack of proper monitoring, data availability for many species is poor.

The integrity of some of the region’s most precious habitats is threatened by the incursion of extractive industries, including oil and gas, as well as mining, which is becoming a major threat even in World Heritage sites such as Virunga National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo) and Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d’Ivoire/Guinea).

Other sources of habitat destruction, such as large-scale industrial logging in Central Africa’s rainforests, drives many wildlife species to the brink of extinction. Some tropical forest regions, for example in Guinea, Nigeria and Niger, are considered critically threatened.

Protected areas in the West and Central Africa region

Sustainable financing, capacity building for managers, and  solid strategies for involving local communities in natural resource management are challenges that concern many West and Central African protected areas. Reserves in many West African countries tend to be small due to high population densities, with human-wildlife conflict a common problem around reserve borders. 

There are also major gaps in protected area systems. Most of the heavily deforested parts of West Africa are under very little protection, as are other areas of high biodiversity value, for example Mount Cameroon and the Western Guinean lowland forests.

Nevertheless, there has also been good news for protected areas in recent years, such as the declaration of thirteen new national parks in Gabon in 2002 to improve protection of the Congo Basin.