Mission: supporting development through biodiversity conservation

The European Union is the biggest contributor to biodiversity finance in developing countries, and with the designation of 2015 as the “European Year for Development”, the achievements of the European Union’s global action in the field of conservation will be in the spotlight. Some of these results were showcased recently at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014, through the participation of EU-supported protected areas initiatives such as BIOPAMA (Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management programme).

Four years after the adoption of the “Agenda for Change”, the EU aims to take stock of what has been achieved so far and what still needs to be done in its development and cooperation policies. The designation of 2015 as the European Year for Development will support this objective. The EU recognizes the crucial role protected areas play in preserving the world’s biological diversity, and through its development and cooperation policies supports initiatives that aim to improve the development and sustainable management of protected areas.

The IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 - a global event held once every 10 years - provided the opportunity to showcase numerous EU-funded projects and initiatives from around the world, and especially in developing countries, highlighting the EU as a world leader in supporting biodiversity conservation through its development and cooperation policies. In addition, the EU reaffirmed its continuous commitment for protected area financing and support through the launch of the EuropeAid flagship initiative Biodiversity for Life to protect biodiversity and fight wildlife crime.

BIOPAMA is one of the EU’s emblematic protected area projects, initiated by the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and funded through the European Development Fund. Jointly implemented by IUCN and the EC-JRC, BIOPAMA aims to improve long-term conservation of biodiversity in ACP regions and reduce the poverty of populations surrounding protected areas. The EU and ACP support to address protected area management challenges in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific countries was emphasized through a strong presence and visibility of the BIOPAMA programme at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014.

A total of 29 BIOPAMA and BIOPAMA-associated events, including communications and visibility efforts, were prepared by the IUCN and EC-JRC BIOPAMA team, for an audience of more than 6,000 delegates from 160 countries. BIOPAMA was highlighted as a major contributor to achieving better management of protected areas in ACP countries and worldwide and was also one of the silver funding partners of Congress, providing resources for many regional delegates to attend the event, and supporting many regional preparation activities.

The two main contributions of BIOPAMA to the agenda of the IUCN World Parks Congress were the development of support tools for protected area decision making and the contribution to the capacity development legacy for protected area management. With the EU and ACP support and through BIOPAMA, several knowledge products were presented at this event and regional conservation messages were brought to the Congress’ global audience, advocating the importance of regional protected areas to the world.

In the context of the European Year for Development, 2015 will offer numerous occasions for the EU to showcase its leading role in supporting development through biodiversity conservation.

Related links:

Biodiversity for Life press release
http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-14-373_en.htm

BIOPAMA
http://www.biopama.org/ 

BIOPAMA at the IUCN World Parks Congress
http://www.biopama.org/learn_more/biopama_iucn_wpc2014.cfm 

EuropeAid
https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/home_en 

European Year for Development 2015
http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/european-year-development-2015_en