Forest4Climate&People and MiRARI present at the first IUCN Africa Protected Areas Congress, Kigali, Rwanda

In July, more than 2400 African leaders, conservation scientists, practioners and citizens from across Africa gathered in Rwanda for #APAC2022 to discuss the role of protected areas in conserving nature, safeguarding Africa’s iconic wildlife, delivering vital life-supporting ecosystem services, promoting sustainable development while conserving Africa’s cultural heritage and traditions. Forest4Climate&People and MiRARI projects were there to take part in the discussions and share our experiences. We spoke in two events as well as having many informal productive discussions and building relationships with those tackling similar issues.

Conservation and social safeguards – Rights-based Approach to Conservation in Africa – Synergies and Lessons Learning

On the July 20th Mirindra Rakotoarisoa joined a panel discussion organized by African Wildlife Foundation at the #APAC2022 about the “Rights-based approach to conservation in Africa”.

Protected areas and biodiversity conservation activities may impact on the social safeguards of these peoples. In order to find a balance for protected areas and people in the same spaces, it is now necessary that projects, programmes and activities for biodiversity conservation and protected area management guarantee people’s involvement and free participation. Hence the importance to highlights the right to life, the right to food, the right to lands and natural resources used in a traditional way, the right to participation and the right to fair and equitable access to benefits and advantages of conservation.

The speakers included Patrice Bigombe (Cameroon), Moderator, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, indigenous woman from Chad and Timothée Emini, indigenous person from Cameroon.

Mirindra used this opportunity to showcase our documentary “Voice from the forests” and spoke about how we have used the film to shorten the gap between decision makers and local communities and how researchers and indigenous people and local communities can work together to achieve a fair and equitable conservation.

Mirindra Rakotoarisoa presenting the documentary film, its background



Putting local communities at the heart of forests conservation – Side event on 22 July 2022

Mirindra Sitraka Rakotoarisoa from the Forest4Climate&People and MiRARI  projects chaired a session entitled “Putting local communities at the heart of decision about forests conservation” on Friday 22nd July.

The session was an opportunity of showing our documentary film “Voices from the forest” followed by an open panel discussion drawing experience from a high-level panel from across the continent of Africa exploring how to empower local communities and ensure that protected and conserved areas become more equitable and effective by taking in to consideration their social impacts.

Our panelists (from left to right): Dr Clement Okongo Ebin, Dr Ibrahim M. Goni, Rio Heriniaina and Patrice Bigombe Logo 

The session was an opportunity to learn from the perspective and the experience from each country about the land tenure system within and around protected areas. This was also an opportunity to discuss about the need of sustainable funding to support conservation initiatives and local communities’ livelihood. The speakers were Dr Ibrahim M. Goni (Conservator-General, Nigeria National Park Services), Patrice Bigombe Logo (Lecturer at the University of Yaoundé 2, Director of Research and Action Centre for Sustainable Development in Central Africa, Cameroon), Rio Heriniaina (one of the 100 Top Young African Leaders in Conservation and des Guides d’Andasibe, Madagascar) and Dr Clement Okongo Ebin (Retired Director of Nigerian National Parks Services, Board Chairman and director of African Ecological Restoration Foundation, Biodiversity Preservation Centre, Nigeria)

Patrice Bigombe Logo said: “All the issues raised by the documentary are relevant to the context of Africa. There are costs to conservation that are borne by the local communities and the indigenous people. The film brilliantly highlights the importance of putting local communities at the center of conservation, protected areas and that is the reason why I accepted to join this session as a speaker. As a lecturer and expert of rights-based approach to conservation, I will use this documentary for my activities in Cameroon".

Dr Clement Okongo Ebin said : "Human Communities, especially the rural poor, constitute an integral part of ecosystems and biomes, the World over. Therefore, effective [and] sustainable conservation area management must take into consideration the peculiar needs and aspirations of the host communities, side by side conservation policies and decisions. Care must however be taken not to adopt an 'One Decision fits all approach'".