Africa Policy and Advocacy Working Group (APAWG)
The Council of the African Partnership (CAP) established the African Policy and Advocacy Working Group (APAWG) at its meeting in Kerkennah, Tunisia, in 2000 following on from more extensive discussions held in Burkina Faso in 1999. APAWG comprises of technical experts in different conservation areas with a common goal for advocacy and policy influence for and on behalf of the Africa Partnership. Currently, APAWG comprises of 14 people drawn from across countries where BirdLife Africa Partnership is represented and coordinated by the Programme Coordinator Policy and Advocacy in the BirdLife Secretariat in Nairobi. It is a technical advisory body of the BirdLife Council of the African Partnership on advocacy, policy and legal matters standing at the same level as TAC, ASWG, etc
APAWG mission is to contribute solutions to critical questions in providing advice to Birdlife Africa Partnership on regional priorities for bird and biodiversity conservation so as to influence policy issues that affect the achievement of the Partnership programme goals through greater engagement with others, implementation and monitoring of sectoral issues.
APAWG consists of an APAWG Chair, APAWG Group Vice-Chair, Programme Coordinator Policy and Advocacy, ARC member, GPAWG member from Global Secretariat, co-opted member(s), and all Regional Focal Points. APAWG members are either employees or members of BirdLife International Partnership.
Within APAWG 10 priority sectoral issues have been identified for focus in line with global issues. These are Biodiversity, Marine, Forests, Wetlands, Dry lands, Agriculture, Climate change, Migratory species, Bird Trade and HIV/AIDS.
Specific functions of APAWG include;
- Co-operating with the Council of the African Partnership (CAP) in its endeavor to find and apply solutions to regional Policy and Advocacy issues,
- Assisting National Policy and Advocacy Focal Points in their task of leading on the elaboration by their respective NGOs of a National Policy and Advocacy Strategy,
- Providing advice to and making recommendations to CAP and TAC on issues related to Policy and Advocacy for bird and biodiversity conservation,
- Ensuring that BirdLife regional Policy and Advocacy strategy is drawn in harmony with conservation priorities and policies of relevant regional institutions (AU, NEPAD, …) and relevant regional and global conventions (African Convention, Ramsar, CBD, UNCCD, CITES, UNFCCC and WHC),
- Assisting the Africa Partnership in achieving its conservation targets and tracking annual progress as set in the Africa Regional Programme,
Working together with the BirdLife Africa Secretariat to secure resources needed to sustain activities of the Group and its two Chair positions.
- APAWG should ideally meet twice a year.
- APAWG operates mainly through: Regional meetings such as CAP Opportunities (BirdLife World Conference, global events, etc….)
- Correspondence through electronic and postal mails as well as by fax and telephone
- Any decision taken at any APAWG meeting needs the endorsement of all members of the Group before its implementation.
- African members of GPAWG in place;
- 11 sectoral Regional Focal Points in place
- Programme Coordinator Policy and Advocacy in place
- Policy and advocacy work reports to CAP;
- National processes beginning to gel (IBAs done, NIBACS, NLCs, SSGs, Monitoring, National Focal Points);
- Growing interest in building national policy and advocacy capacity;
- Regional Policy & Advocacy strategy development.
- Policy influence on key issues beginning to happen e.g. on Bird Trade – 2 years ban on AGP for range states as a result of BirdLife recommendations, Biofuels in Africa, Marine birds and sites
- Strong advocacy for mitigation of threats to IBAs such as Mabira, Lake Natron now happening etc.
- Engagement with regional institutions e.g. AMCEN, Nairobi Convention