BirdLife Africa Work
The BirdLife Africa Partnership is making efforts to significantly reduce the rate of loss of the region’s biodiversity. These efforts are mainly in the form of advocacy and conservation action for identified IBAs and priority species and empowering the local people to analyse threats and develop safeguard options that suit local socio-economic contexts and use the existing indigenous knowledge. The Partnership works through developing alliances with governments and non-governmental agencies to address the most important threats to biodiversity.
The 58 countries and territories that make up Africa and its associated islands support 2,314 (23%) of the world’s 9,799 bird species. Of this, almost 1,400 are endemic to the continent and can be found in a breathtaking diversity of habitats.
Almost 10% of the bird species in Africa are globally threatened. BirdLife International works to secure a future for birds and people across Africa through the BirdLife Africa Programme.
Most of BirdLife’s work entails the identification and conservation of threatened species and IBA sites; and the development of appropriate policies and advocacy plans related to global processes and conventions for priority habitats and ecosystems. BirdLife’s work in Africa gives high priority to empowering people to manage and benefit from sustainable use of natural resources through livelihoods improvement, and all these are achieved through a four-pronged strategic objective of: Species, Sites, Habitats and People.
The BirdLife Africa Partnership Conservation Programme is focused on saving species by:
- Conducting research on Critically Endangered Species
- Developing and implementing International and National Action Plans for Globally Threatened Birds in Africa. The BirdLife Africa Partnership has so far developed 15 National and 7 International Species Action Plans (SAPs) and has in place a Species Action Plan Development Manual (PDF 410 KB)
- Disseminating information and campaigning on behalf of Critically Endangered species in need of conservation action
The BirdLife Africa Important Bird Areas (IBA) programme aims to protect sites by:
- Increasing the number of active Site Support Groups in the Africa network. Currently, 145 Site Support Groups have been established and are actively involved in conserving over 50 IBAs across the continent.
- Mobilising and developing capacity of core IBA teams. National IBA Programmes are well established in 12 countries and are well underway in a further three.
- Developing capacity of stakeholders to implement monitoring on sustainable basis. Frameworks were developed to implement monitoring on a sustainable basis and already partners are monitoring over 240 IBA sites. Some of the monitoring products can be downloaded from here.
- A Regional Directory on IBAs entitled 'The Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands' was published by BirdLife in 2001 (Fishpool and Evans). This is an easy-to-access source of scientifically rigorous information on priority sites for conservation. The Africa Division is currently undertaking work to update the Regional Directory on IBAs. To read about this update, and see the information required, click here.
A Regional IBA Conservation Strategy to guide the IBA Programme until 2015 was published and launched in 2005 and can be downloaded here. Hard copies are available from the BirdLife Africa Secretariat Office in Nairobi.
Main components of the habitats work in the Africa programme are to ensure that habitats are conserved through:
- Identifying, mapping and prioritising habitats within their countries that need protection
- Developing partnerships with Government and other stakeholders for management and maintenance of key habitats
- A key habitat initiative is a project to monitor Africa’s IBAs across broad swathes of the continent using Remote Sensing
To ensure people are actively involved in conservation, the Africa Programme ensures that they are empowered by:
- Developing and implementing programmes that link biodiversity conservation to livelihoods for the mutual benefit of people and birds. Download Good for Nature, Good for People.
- Developing and implementing an overall strategy encompassing advocacy, communication and education of people concerning birds and their natural environment, together with relevant stakeholders
- Developing the fund raising capacity of BirdLife Africa Partnership organisations
Vision for the future
The BirdLife Africa Partnership envisions a future in which the Millennium Development Goals for Africa are met, especially Goal 1 - to halve poverty by 2015, and Goal 7 - to ensure environmental stability.
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