Africa nature: a capacity building program for natural World Heritage in Africa
The Africa Nature capacity building program was launched in 2011 to improve management effectiveness at natural World Heritage sites in Africa. It will target site managers of the 39 existing natural properties in Africa and will address major gaps in site management, pointed as a major stake for the sustainable conservation of those sites. The program is designed to help site managers improve their management and monitoring processes to better address the serious threats and conservation challenges observed at many of those sites, among which 32% are inscribed on the List of World Heritage in danger. Climate change, invasive species or physical resource extraction are among the numerous conservation challenges identified through the Second Cycle of the Periodic Reporting in the Africa region carried out in 2010-2011. The Africa Nature program will not directly address those threats, but will be a significant contribution to address some of their underlying causes.
The program is implemented by UNESCO World Heritage Centre, IUCN, the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme and the African World Heritage Fund. It was officially adopted by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011 and will be implemented within a six year timeframe as part of the Africa Periodic Reporting Action Plan 2012-2017.
The program will function as an umbrella for a number of projects and initiatives that support the overall objectives. Therefore, further cooperation and synergies will be sought with existing initiatives and training activities.
Within this overall program, a 24 months start-up phase has been designed. It will focus on building capacity and carrying out management effectiveness assessments in a selection of sites, developing a stakeholder network of site managers and their direct partners, and delivering capacity building on engaging local communities in site conservation and addressing some key conservation issues identified through the periodic reporting such as risk preparedness. The project will include both technical training – through targeted capacity building workshops – and on-the-job training.
The start up phase of the programme is supported by the implementing organizations UNESCO, IUCN, the UNDP/GEF Small Grants Programme and the African World Heritage Fund with additional financial contributions from Governments of Flanders (Belgium), the Netherlands and Spain.