Pan-African Networks

About the Author

AWF is an Africa-based global conservation organization protecting wildlife and their habitats as essential parts of a modern and prosperous Africa. More

We incubate and support influential networks that bring stakeholders together across sectors. Rather than looking on as global processes dictate conservation on the continent, we’re empowering groups with the greatest interest in these conversations to not only articulate those interests but to reshape conversations if necessary. 

A landscape featuring a mountain in the background.

Protected areas like Uganda's Kidepo Valley National Park are critical for wildlife and ecosystems.

Africa Protected Area Directors

The Africa Protected Area Directors (APAD) is a network open to protected-area authorities from all 54 African countries, currently co-chaired by Rwanda and Zimbabwe. We support the network as secretariat. The forum brings protected-area leaders together to drive: 

  • Sustainable financing of Africa’s protected and conserved areas 
  • Climate resilience and disaster risk preparedness 
  • Cooperation mechanisms among APADs and their networks


The network was formed in 2020 to address the effects of COVID-19 on Africa’s protected and conserved areas, which largely relied on tourism revenue, suffering financial blows from pandemic lockdowns. Today, it continues to work toward an Africa-led common agenda, information sharing, and collaboration among Africa’s protected areas. APAD positions protected areas as the foundation of natural infrastructure, as they are critical for biodiversity conservation, climate action, and ecosystem services, which are the life-giving effects of nature that underpin human wellbeing. 

>>Learn more about APAD's achievements

A bird sits on an elephant's back.

The Convention on Biological Diversity defines biodiversity as "the variability among living organisms."

African Civil Society Biodiversity Alliance

In 2020, AWF initiated a pan-African leadership platform, the African Civil Society Organizations Biodiversity Alliance (ACBA), to define an African civil society agenda in negotiations at the Convention on Biological Diversity and World Conservation Congress. AWF’s Global Leadership team played a significant role in forming and coordinating the group. 

AWF serves as the secretariat of the group, which consists of over 80 African civil society organizations from all of Africa’s subregions (North, West, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa). Alliance members include national NGOs, community-based organizations, and individual experts involved in a range of activities, including research, advocacy, and fieldwork.

The alliance engages with the African Group of Negotiators to the Convention on Biological Diversity—a key partnership that carries forward a common African agenda to the CBD—as well as the European Union, the Chinese Civil Society Alliance for Biodiversity Conservation, the African Development Bank, and the Global Environmental Facility of the World Bank, among others. These engagements build knowledge about pertinent biodiversity issues through dialogues and comprehensive, collaborative peer review.

The overarching goal of this network-building is to promote an African vision for biodiversity that will help shape conservation policy, practice, and investment on the continent.