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Rwanda hosts inagural IUCN and Africa Protected Areas Congress in Kigali

 

Rwanda is hosting the first ever International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) in Kigali.

The Congress attracted more than 2,000 participants from all 54 African countries and beyond with a major aim of addressing challenges and driving action for Africa’s Protected and Conserved Areas.

The conference is seing discussions about the key role of these areas in safeguarding the continent’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital ecosystem services, driving sustainable development, and conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions.

While addressing participants at the openning ceremony, the Prime Minister of Rwanda Édouard Ngirente urged them to spare no effort in protecting and conserving Africa’s natural resources.

 

“Africa is rich in biodiversity – perhaps the richest in the world. We have the most beautiful rivers,  forests, mountains, and a variety of wildlife that can only be found on this continent. We must therefore spare no effort in protecting and conserving this diversity,” he said.

He added that; “Given the huge social and economic benefits of protected  and conserved areas, it is my conviction that this Africa Protected Areas Congress will chart  pathways towards a resilient and sustainable conservation of our biodiversity for economies’ transformation.”

Dr. Bruno Oberle, IUCN Director General said that this first IUCN and APAC Congress is to give a voice to the marginalized communities.

“Protected and conserved areas in Africa have a complicated legacy, with conservation success too often coming at the expense of local communities. One key focus of the first-ever IUCN Africa  Protected Areas Congress is to give a voice to these marginalized communities, stressing their stewardship of nature and the need for inclusive and just conservation models under African leadership, and with global support,” said Dr. Oberle.

 

According to Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of Africa Wildlife Foundation, the congress offers an opportunity to re-engage with nature and recalibrate our understanding of it.

“The Africa Protected Area Congress offers Africa the golden chance to reset and recalibrate our mindsets towards sustainable avenues that will ensure that. the well-being of wildlife and their habitats is safeguarded. Africa faces the challenge of economic transformation in a world that is aware that the current model of prosperity is reaching its ecological limits. To be successful in beating extinction and postponing its inevitability, we will need strong alliances that bring different sectors together if we are to overcome the challenges of wildlife protection and conservation and save the future of our planet; hence why APAC is so important at this moment in time,” said  Sebunya.

 

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Ms Pamela Amia is a Multimedia Journalist, Conservationist and traveler.

amiapamela@gmail.com

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