Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

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The contribution of the Important Bird Areas programme to the conservation of birds in Africa

Julius A Arinaitwe, Paulinus C Ngeh, Hazell S Thompson


The Important Bird Areas (IBA) programme aims to identify and protect a network of sites of global importance for the conservation of birds in perpetuity. Sites are identified at national level through applying internationally-agreed criteria concerned with the vulnerability and irreplaceability values of the birds they contain. Launched in 1994, the IBA programme in Africa has made a substantial contribution to conservation of birds through provision of information and developing capacity for bird conservation among individuals and institutions. A directory listing 1 230 IBAs was produced through desk studies and surveys, through which new information on species distribution and abundance is made available. Training for bird conservation has been organised by the BirdLife Partners and secretariat in Africa at various levels, targetting a wide range of stakeholders, including government agencies. Institutional capacity of the BirdLife Partners has been strengthened through developing partnerships, credibility and ability to undertake conservation action and advocacy. More work is required to update the lists of IBAs, monitor their status and scale up the programme to cover the whole continent.

Ostrich 2007, 78(2): 139–143

AJOL African Journals Online