African Important Bird Areas
The African IBA Programme seeks to identify, document and work towards the conservation and sustainable management of globally important places for bird conservation in Africa. IBAs are:
- Sites of international significance for the conservation of birds and other biodiversity
- Recognized worldwide as practical tools for conservation.
- Identified using internationally agreed, standard, objective, quantitative and scientifically defensible criteria applied with common sense.
- Distinct areas amenable for practical conservation.
- Part of a wider, integrated approach to conservation and sustainable use that embraces sites, species, habitats, and people
The Africa IBA programme is implemented in four overlaping phases, as follows:
Stage 1. Start-up: Consultation, background context assessment, stakeholder analysis and establishment of national partnerships and agreements; setting up a suitable institutional framework, which usually involves obtaining the co-operation of non-BirdLife institutions such as government agencies, development NGOs, universities, etc. Agreeing national objectives
Stage 2. Identification/survey: A process of identifying potential IBA sites, data collection, field surveys, and confirmation of these sites as IBAs, production of an IBA inventory and population of a database
Stage 3. Action planning: Setting priorities and implementing advocacy, monitoring and action for key sites
Stage 4. Fully-developed national site conservation programme: Establishing a sustainable management cycle in which a programme of action, monitoring and advocacy for the network of national IBAs is well-established, with security of future funding.
Current status of the IBA Programme in Africa
The IBA programme in Africa has endeavored to provide information on key sites for biodiversity. To date national directories have been published covering Ethiopia (EWNHS 1996); southern Africa including Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe (Barnes, 1998); Madagascar (ZICOMA 1998); Egypt (Baha El Din 1999), Kenya (Bennun & Njoroge 2000), Sierra Leone (Okoni-Williams, Thompson, Wood, Robertson & Koroma 2001), Uganda (Byaruhanga, Kasoma & Pomeroy 2001), Nigeria (Ezealor & Amino-Kano 2002) Tanzania (Baker & Baker 2002) Guinea-Bissau (Dodman, Barlow, Sa & Robertson, 2004) and Zambia (Leonard 2005).
Directories for a number of other countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cameroon and Tunisia) are in advanced preparatory stage. At a regional level, Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated islands was published in 2001. This regional directory documents all the 1230 sites of global significance for birds across 58 states and associated islands of Africa and provides a list of priority conservation actions to protect them in perpetuity.
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