Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA)


The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resources in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities. It is an initiative of the ACP Group of States financed by the European Union’s 11th European Development Fund (EDF), jointly implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC). Building on the first five years of activities financed by the 10th EDF, BIOPAMA’s second phase provides tools for data and information management, services for improving the knowledge and capacity for protected area planning and decision making, and funding opportunities for specific site-based actions. In the ACP regions, BIOPAMA is implemented in close collaboration with regional partners, especially the host institutions of the BIOPAMA Regional Observatories for Protected Areas and Biodiversity.

What BIOPAMA has to offer

The BIOPAMA Programme assists the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to address their priorities for effective conservation and sustainable use of natural resources by providing services, tools, capacity development and financial support:

Regional Observatories

The Regional Observatories for Protected Areas and Biodiversity are the central pillar of BIOPAMA’s work. They support data collection, analysis, monitoring and reporting, provide relevant tools and services, develop the capacities of staff and organizations to manage this information, and provide policy guidance for better decision making on biodiversity conservation. IUCN is currently leading consultations with countries and partners in Southern Africa to identify a suitable host organization for the Southern African Regional Observatory.

Regional Reference Information Systems

The Regional Reference Information Systems (RRIS) are a key feature of each Regional Observatory. The RRIS gathers in one place critical data, information, tools and knowledge products on the region’s protected areas, biodiversity and related information. JRC is responsible for the development and deployment of the RRIS, in close collaboration with the host organization, countries and partners in the region, who will upload and generate relevant data and information to the RRIS to support the functioning of the Regional Observatory. The RRIS can be used to support decision making for planning, designating, managing and monitoring protected areas. The Southern African RRIS will be created and hosted in the Southern African Regional Observatory once this is established. The Southern African RRIS will also connect with other information portals such as the SADC TFCA Portal.

Capacity Development

BIOPAMA aims at developing the capacity of key stakeholders to make effective use of the tools and services provided by the Regional Observatories. BIOPAMA trains protected area staff and other key actors involved in decisions affecting protected areas on how to use and apply and the data, information and tools in the Regional Reference Information Systems (RRIS).

Capacity development has been a strong focus of the BIOPAMA Programme since the first phase. Regional strategies for capacity development were developed based on assessments and regional consultations. More than 120 trainings and workshops were organized and more than 2,000 participants from protected areas, governments, NGOs, academia, local communities and the private sector benefited and were involved in the BIOPAMA capacity development initiatives.

In Southern and Eastern Africa, for example, the BIOPAMA capacity building programme has been equipping protected area practitioners with skills to manage land and resource conflicts in and around protected areas with a view to improve the management effectiveness of these protected areas. More than 100 staff from all countries of the region have been trained since 2013 and many others have benefited from further capacity development initiatives supported by BIOPAMA.

Action Fund

The second phase of BIOPAMA also includes an Action Fund component to support specific actions on the ground aimed at strengthening the management and governance of protected areas and natural resources. The application of the BIOPAMA management and governance assessment tools will help identify priority actions. The Action Fund will be established and administered by IUCN, based on their experience with similar grant mechanisms, and more information about the BIOPAMA grant mechanism will follow later in 2018.


BIOPAMA website:

IUCN BIOPAMA Regional Coordinator for Southern and Eastern Africa: vacant. Please contact Leo Niskanen (leo.niskanen[at]iucn[dot]org), the Technical Coordinator of the Conservation Areas and Species Diversity Programme in IUCN’s Eastern and Southern Africa Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya.

JRC BIOPAMA Contact Point for Southern Africa: Bastian Bertzky (bastian.bertzky[at]ec.europa[dot]eu)