Today marks the conclusion of the first African Protected Areas Congress (APAC), held in the Rwandan capital of Kigali. 2000
Today marks the conclusion of the first African Protected Areas Congress (APAC), held in the Rwandan capital of Kigali.
2000 delegates attended the conference, including politicians, environmental activists and non-profit organizations. Discussions centered around efforts to increase the level of investment in biodiversity and ecological conservation, promoting sustainable development.
APAC will likely continue to encourage governments to take greater responsibility in protecting their national protected areas instead of relying on foreign money and NGOs. However, Africa’s already cash-strapped nations will be pressed to find a long-term solution to the problem of insufficient funding. Over 9,000 protected areas suffer from funding deficiencies, an obstacle in conservation that will only be exacerbated by climate change. Additionally, conservation advocates must wrestle with a political class oriented towards attracting as much foreign direct investment as possible in order to develop their countries. In turn, much of this FDI is put towards infrastructure projects, which tend to require land development and worsen existing ecological problems. Worryingly, with a global economic slowdown due to inflation, funding is likely to slow in the medium-term on both the FDI and the conservation front.