Planning 3.1: National Plans
Once IBAs have been identified and documented … what next? Moving on to the task of conservation can seem daunting. So many sites, so many threats, so few resources: where do you start?
One can say that each IBA is a case on its own with many specific variables and characteristics to be taken into account in order effectively achieve its conservation in the long term. Selecting the right approach and adapting it over time as circumstances evolve it is also a critical component of prioritising and strategising for action. The diagram offers a summary of some of the most common categories of approaches to conserve IBAs.
No doubt some action and advocacy will already be under way for certain IBAs. Before launching into any more, however, it makes sense to pause and take a little time to plan. A national IBA planning process – producing a National IBA Conservation Strategy, or NIBACS – has many potential benefits. It brings together the key stakeholders in IBA conservation to agree:
- Where is conservation action needed most urgently?
- What are the needs for intervention – what broad classes of action will work best for particular sites?
- Who needs to be involved, and what should their roles and responsibilities be?
- What wider policy and legal changes may be needed?
- What advocacy is needed to engage institutions and bring about reform in policy and regulations?
It is unlikely that BirdLife Partners can directly manage more than a very few, if any, IBAs in their country. Their legal mandate, financial resources and capacity cannot often extend beyond this. However, Partners do have the interest and ability to bring together the relevant players, co-ordinate joint planning and stimulate effective actions.
A NIBACS need not — and usually should not — be a long or complex document. It should provide a clear but simple focus for action and advocacy by a range of organisations. Further detail can be added later, for instance in specific site management plans.
Other national and sub-national plans need to be kept in mind when developing a NIBACS. Ideally, a NIBACS should feed directly into national biodiversity policies and strategies, such as National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans developed under the CBD. If the timing is right, development of a NIBACS process can sometimes be made an integral part of these more general, usually Government-led, processes. More often, the recommendations of a NIBACS will need advocacy (see below) to ensure they inform decision-making. Ensuring that the right people and institutions take part in developing the plan, and feel ownership of it, is crucial.
Suggested themes and sub-themes for a typical NIBACS, and the issues to consider under each, can be found in the GEF-Africa IBA toolkit.
- Guidelines to the preparation of National IBA Conservation Strategies (IBA Toolkit, Appendix 8) (PDF, 743KB)
African National IBA Conservation Strategies< (Africa webpage containing links to PDFs)
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