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PACIFIC, CARIBBEAN, EASTERN & SOUTHERN AFRICA, WESTERN & CENTRAL AFRICA

Two regional observatories were launched in the Pacific and in Central Africa with the aim of supporting decision-making for more effective protected areas management and biodiversity conservation. These observatories were established by BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme), a programme developed on the initiative of the ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) Secretariat, supported by the European Union, and implemented by IUCN and other partners.

Although African, Caribbean and Pacific states host a huge share of our planet’s biodiversity, many protected areas in these countries are lacking the human and institutional capacity required to help them achieve their objectives of conserving key species, ecosystems, and services. Particularly the access and use of information to improve decision making is often proving challenging.

The European Union recognizes the crucial role protected areas play in preserving the world’s biological diversity, and through its development and cooperation policies supports initiatives that aim to improve the development and sustainable management of protected areas and their neighbouring landscapes. 
One of these initiatives is BIOPAMA , which aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, while reducing poverty in communities in and around protected areas.

The two newly launched Regional Observatories for protected areas and biodiversity, will contribute to the collation and sharing of relevant data and information on protected areas and provide support on decision-making processes to governments across these two regions. More than being a source of knowledge, the regional observatories will facilitate networking of practitioners, experts and institutions, and will coordinate technical and policy support to national agencies and regional organizations.

SPREP, the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and OFAC, the Observatory for Central African Forests, are the host institutions of these first two BIOPAMA Regional Observatories. Additional observatories will be launched in the coming months, covering the Caribbean, Western Africa and Eastern and Southern Africa. These are being developed in close collaboration with the relevant regional actors and institutions.

"The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States has as one of its priorities the protection of biodiversity for the benefit of the lives and livelihoods of the millions of people in ACP States. It is for this reason that ACP countries have contributed 20 million under the 10th EDF for this very important project", said Mr. Achille Bassilekin, Assistant Secretary-General in charge of the Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade, of the ACP Group. He reiterated the importance of the BIOPAMA programme by stating: "I also look forward to the launching of the remaining observatories in the other regions, which will be critical to determining the success of the BIOPAMA programme at the end of 2016".

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