African Parks Network

Unleashing Potential of Africa’s Landscapes to Drive Development and Security

Lead Organization

African Parks Network

Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

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Project Summary

Across Africa, the effects of climate change and unsustainable exploitation leave landscapes incapable of supporting future generations. Biodiversity is being lost at an unprecedented rate. With the population expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050, pressure on the continent is immense and aggravated by conflict, corruption, and mass movements of people and livestock.African Parks’ proven model is to assume full delegated management responsibility for protected areas. We will scale our impact by securing new areas and connecting them within three vulnerable landscapes. Partnering with local communities and government authorities, we establish an enabling environment that supports enterprise and job creation, and increased access to education, healthcare and social services. Working in targeted geographies for decades, we have a powerful impact on the interconnected elements of the natural environment, socio-economic development, and regional security. In doing so, we bring stability, durable sustainability and unleash the untapped human potential of Africa.

Problem Statement

Tizola Moyo has been protecting Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve for 25 years. In the 1990s, he and his team were doing all they could to prevent poaching and other illegal activities, but – under-resourced and ill-equipped – it was a losing battle. In a devastating period of lawlessness, the reserve’s resources were stripped as surrounding communities struggled to survive off the land.This story is common across Africa, where the population is expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050. The effects of climate change and over-exploitation are leaving landscapes barren and lifeless, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where three-quarters of this projected growth will occur. Neither crops nor livestock can thrive. The hazards of subsistence living are further compounded by the debilitating effects of rebel wars, rampant corruption, and increasingly militarized transhumance. Biodiversity, the source of all-natural capital, is being lost at an unprecedented rate. The confluence of these issues will continue to have devastating consequences for Africa and the entire planet. The burden falls disproportionately on those already most vulnerable. Thousands risk everything in search of a better life elsewhere, creating economic and ecological dead zones.Well-managed protected areas can serve as a catalyst for change, providing anchors of security and biodiversity that create resilience for people and planet. Majete has been transformed through habitat restoration, law enforcement, employment and tourism, and today serves as a thriving life-source for wildlife and humans.

Solution Overview

Taking a portfolio wide approach, African Parks will establish “green curtains” of security, stability and biodiversity in ecologically significant and vulnerable places. Our current reach spans 15 parks in nine countries, from Benin to Mozambique. This provides proof of concept and uniquely positions us to make an impact at greater scale across three connected landscapes in sub-Saharan Africa: the WAP Complex in West Africa; the Congo-Sahel divide in the Congo Basin; and the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) in southern Africa.Working in partnership with national governments and local communities, we will bring three new protected areas within these biodiversity hotspots under direct management. Employing our integrated model, we will ensure full accountability and transparency. Investments in communication networks and infrastructure will support the multi-faceted operations of individual protected areas. By establishing an enabling environment in Phase 1, we create the potential for conservation led local enterprises to attract public and private investment. Diverse employment opportunities that provide training and career paths will emerge in Phase 2, along with increased access to education, healthcare and social services. And ultimately, changed material realities helps win hearts and minds (of communities, companies and governments) around the importance of protecting natural resources. And lastly, in Phase 3, we will use innovative technology to share intelligence, develop land-use plans and actively engage stakeholders throughout the region. This expanded sphere of influence, supported by a common vision, will fundamentally disrupt existing patterns of degradation and instability.

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Project Funders

  • The Wyss Foundation 2015 - 2023
  • The European Union 2011 - 2023
  • Esri 2018 - 2028

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