AWF and IUCN Announce Sponsors for Africa Protected Areas Congress 2022

Press Release

AWF and IUCN Announce Sponsors for Africa Protected Areas Congress 2022

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WASHINGTON, D.C. AND NAIROBI, KENYA (December 27, 2021) – The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) today announced the sponsors for the IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress (also known as APAC). Current 2022 sponsors include: World Wildlife Fund (WWF); International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW); MAVA Foundation; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID); The Federal German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety, and Consumer Protection; AWF; ESRI; and the International Crane Foundation & Endangered Wildlife Trust Partnership.

Co-organizers from IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) and AWF describe APAC as the first meeting of its kind on the continent to provide a forum for African countries to address the role of protected areas in conserving nature and safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife. The goals of APAC are to deliver vital life-supporting ecosystem services and promote sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions.  

APAC will be hosted by the Rwandan Government in March 2022. The aim of the congress is to bring together authentic African voices across the continent to address conservation issues that matter most to African audiences and Africa’s development.  African countries will be able to present a unified front towards delivering a lasting balance between people, prosperity, and our planetary boundaries.

WWF Africa Region Director Alice Ruhweza said: “WWF is excited to partner with APAC as we have been supporting climate change adaptation in Africa since 2011 through the Africa Adaptation Initiative regional programme. As part of this work, WWF has carried out climate change vulnerability assessments of 263 protected areas. The results of the assessment are informing the development of practical on the ground solutions (such as protecting wildlife corridors, and refugia; developing dynamic landscape conservation plans, translocating species at risk of extinction, etc) to safeguard the functions of the most representative biodiversity area in Africa, and the lives and livelihoods of the people that depend on them. The outcomes from these studies will also be shared at the upcoming Africa Protected Area Congress, taking place in Rwanda in March 2022."


As environmental issues have become more globalized, African governments have adopted many regional and global agreements on the environment, biodiversity, and sustainable development. Across all these commitments, success will be contingent on halting and reversing biodiversity loss at national and local levels, for which protected and conserved areas represent a prime mechanism supporting multiple interventions.

MAVA Foundation West African Program Director Charlotte Karibuhoye said: “The MAVA foundation chose to support this first-ever African congress on protected and conserved areas and APAC’s mission because we consider the congress to be a unique opportunity to communicate the achievements and lessons learned in biodiversity conservation and effective protected area management to ensure the well-being of communities and sustainable economic and social development in Africa. APAC is also an excellent opportunity for MAVA to capitalize on its action as an engaged philanthropic donor as the foundation is winding down, while supporting its partners to exchange and to create bridges with other conservation players active on the continent.”

These commitments are a very critical step in the pursuit of not only Africa’s vision for long term conservation of nature, but for securing ecosystem goods and services (food, water, fresh air) that enable the achievement of the sustainable development goals and tackling the challenges of both climate change and biodiversity loss.

IFAW Vice-President of Global Programs Jimmiel Mandima said: “Priority conservation issues require space for thought and discussion, and APAC provides an opportunity for Africans to look at what works and what does not in an African context. We believe that ensuring ecological connectivity, as a long-term strategy for maintaining biodiversity and associated ecosystem services is essential for Africa’s economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life. APAC provides an important platform for African governments and other stakeholders to discuss and agree on such urgent issues.”

ESRI Director, Conservation Solutions David Gadsden said: “As the world comes to realize the critical importance of preserving biodiversity, Africa embodies both fundamental challenges and extraordinary accomplishments in conservation. We are honored to sponsor APAC to connect with our partners and share our mapping solutions for protected area management and landscape level conservation planning.”

The APAC Secretariat lauds the support by the various sponsors and partners as this shows commitment to critically understanding the underlying drivers of biodiversity loss in Africa, how these drivers can be addressed in practical ways and most importantly driving the realization that African livelihoods and the global post-COVID-19 African economies depend on nature.

About APAC

  • The IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress is the first-ever continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, and interest groups to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, and promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions
  • APAC is scheduled to take place in Kigali, Rwanda from March 7-12, 2022. Registration for the congress is ongoing.
  • For more information visit the APAC website at


About IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas

IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas is the world’s premier network of protected area expertise, administered by IUCN’s Global Programme on Protected Areas. The commission works by helping governments and others plan protected areas and integrate them into all sectors by providing strategic advice to policymakers; strengthening capacity and investment in protected areas; and convening the diverse constituency of protected-area stakeholders to address challenging issues.

About African Wildlife Foundation

The African Wildlife Foundation is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

CONTACTS: For interviews and media inquiries, contact Wambui Odhiambo of AWF in Nairobi, Kenya at or +254 728 886987 or Patrick Mitchell of AWF in Washington, D.C. at or +1 202-991-7508. To inquire about APAC Sponsorships, please contact Beulah Erhiawarien at