“The Governments of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are waking up to the recognition that the management and restoration of ecosystems is an effective way of providing natural solutions to the development pressures of our time,” stated Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Secretary-General of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), during a recent visit of IUCN Regional Directors to Brussels.
IUCN Regional Directors from Eastern and Southern Africa, the Pacific and Europe were joined by senior colleagues from West Africa and the Caribbean and IUCN Headquarters staff during a three-day visit to Brussels, for meetings with the European Commission, the EU-ACP dialogue in the European Parliament and the Secretariat of the ACP Group of States. The visit was organised by the IUCN European Union Representative Office in Brussels.
Ali Kaka, Regional Director for East and Southern Africa said: “There is a lot IUCN can offer the ACP Group of States, through its presence in Brussels and the Regional Offices in other part of the world. This visit illustrated how IUCN in Europe and IUCN in Eastern and Southern Africa can work together for increased efficiency and effectiveness on resource mobilisation and technical collaboration with the European Commission.”
"There is agreement on the need for ACP leaders to recognize and prioritize the need for better management of their natural resources for investment of climate change funding and a real transition into the green economy,"said Taholo Kami, Regional Director for IUCN Oceania Regional Office. "And IUCN can help countries in this dialogue".
One of the specific initiatives discussed during the visit was the EC-funded Biodiversity and Protected Area Management programme (BIOPAMA) which is expected to start before the end of the year. Trevor Sandwith, Head of IUCN’s Global Protected Areas Programme said: “The BIOPAMA project provides an excellent opportunity to show how protected areas contribute to economic and social development in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean through capacity development, and IUCN is very happy to be the main partner in this initiative. Other partners in the project, apart from the five IUCN Regional Offices, include the EC Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, the German Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, UNEP-WCMC."
“I was very glad to welcome some of our colleagues from other IUCN regions to Brussels. The IUCN European Union Representative Office plays a crucial role in bringing together the different actors within the IUCN network and facilitating their access to the European institutions”, said Monica Jacobs, Head of IUCN European Union Representative Office. “This visit provided a great opportunity to discuss synergies and I am confident that this will result in strengthened cooperation between us and the other regions.”
An informal dialogue on "Mainstreaming biodiversity in development cooperation" took place at the IUCN Brussels office on 4 October to launch the visit by IUCN Directors. Speakers included Louis Du Breil De Pontbriand, Head of Unit, DG Environment, European Commission; Tony Long, Director, European Policy Office, WWF; and Ali Kaka, Regional Director, Eastern and Southern Africa, IUCN.