Elevating the Role of Communities in Conservation Management Areas

Protected areas and other types of biodiversity-focused management tools play an integral role in safeguarding and restoring Africa’s biodiversity, which in turn enhances the resilience of ecosystems in building a defence against climate change. Various models of area-based management tools have been developed, increasing over time to include areas that are not recognised under the formal banner of protected areas, but that play an equally important role in contributing to achieving long-term biodiversity, climate change and sustainable development targets. For Africa, these ‘other effective area-based conservation measures’ are particularly important, as much of the continent’s wildlife and biodiversity exists outside protected areas. However, despite their growing significance, many of these OECMs do not yet contribute significantly to the livelihoods of nearby communities. This briefing highlights successful examples of community-driven initiatives in Africa and their lessons around the constraints and hurdles for achieving adoption, buy-in and scaling of these models. As African negotiators approach the Conference of Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity in China this year, they should collectively advocate for increased community driven biodiversity initiatives within both protected areas and through other area-based conservation measures.