African countries boost their Network of Biosphere Reserves during regional summit
The 6th General Assembly of the African Network of Biosphere Reserves (AfriMAB) ended on 4 October in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. With the objectives of developing and strengthening the capacities of MAB National Committees and Biosphere Reserve managers for environmental conservation, observation of the effects of climate change or contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals, its members met for a week to discuss new challenges and threats biosphere reserves face.
At its conclusion, the General Assembly in Abidjan called on the stakeholders of the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme in Africa to take into account the MAB Programme and biosphere reserves as an instrument to facilitate the implementation of the African Union's Agenda 2063. Similarly, they are invited to support the creation of a MAB youth network in Africa and their participation in the network as well as to invite them to the 32nd session of the International Coordinating Council of the MAB Programme to be held in Abuja, Nigeria, from 1 to 5 June 2020.
During the session, the creation of an African Biosphere Reserve Fund (Afribiofund) was announced and governments were invited to contribute financially. In addition, an AfriMAB subnetwork on great ape habitats has been established to protect these endangered species. The protection of biosphere reserves was also at the heart of the debates with a call to strengthen monitoring of core areas and to develop relevant strategies for the restoration and ecological rehabilitation of biosphere reserves. Ecological restoration will be the end of the next edition of AfriMAB, to be held in 2021 in Senegal.