IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress

IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress


Balancing development and conservation to build a healthy future for people and nature

African Wildlife Foundation is proud to convene the landmark Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) alongside the Government of Rwanda, the International Union for Conservation of Nature - World Commission on Protected Areas (IUCN), and many other partners and sponsors. This is the first-ever continent-wide gathering of African leaders, citizens, and interest groups to discuss the role of protected and conserved areas in protecting nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, and promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s rich cultural heritage.

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Congress Themes

Through plenary sessions, expert panels, research presentations, exhibitions, and networking events, the inaugural Africa Protected Areas Congress will explore three thematic areas:

Volcanoes National Park

Protected Areas

Apart from discussing terrestrial and marine protected areas, delegates will also gain insight into the potential of community and privately conserved areas across Africa. Improving international cooperation, transboundary governance, and wildlife management standards are critical in connecting Africa’s wildlife areas and boosting regional development.

Woman in chili pepper field


The benefits of protected areas stretch beyond wildlife and wild lands. People depend on the services of intact ecosystems and have long protected landscapes for their ecological and cultural value. The Congress will delve into the interdependence between human well-being and nature conservation, looking into strategies to tackle human-wildlife conflict, explore rights-based conservation, and showcase resource management opportunities in conservation-friendly businesses.



Sessions at APAC will look into historical and emerging threats to wildlife and wild lands such as poaching, illegal wildlife trade, and habitat loss. As wildlife economies make a slow recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to grapple with climate change impacts, delegates will explore mitigation and adaptation strategies and the importance of ecological restoration for sustainable development.


Central to AWF’s mission of promoting sustainable development, the Congress seeks to deliberately foster dialogues among key stakeholders to build and empower the current and next generation of leaders. The aim is to realize an African future where biodiversity is valued as an asset that contributes to development and human well-being.

The Congress welcomes leaders from governments across the continent; nongovernmental and civil society organizations; major international and regional environmental agreements and conventions — including the CBD, UNEP, RAMSAR, UNFCCC, CITES, and UNESCO World Heritage; multilateral development agencies; protected area practitioners’ agencies; community conserved areas; privately conserved areas; areas under shared governance and Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures; businesses — including manufacturing, health, development, insurance, finance, water, agriculture, tourism, and outdoor recreation and adventure sectors; historically underrepresented groups in conservation — including youth and women; the general public; and media.

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Giraffe at Nairobi National Park