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Building African Capacity for Conserving Biodiversity in a Changing Climate

Submitted by Ben Smith 27th November 2009 11:20


Photo courtesy START

An advanced education and training program on biodiversity conservation and climate change was implemented at the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, targeted at building the capacity of early- to mid-career conservation professionals from the Albertine Rift region. This region is an important biodiversity hotspot that is increasingly at risk from a changing climate and other stressors such as human induced landscape changes. The capacity building endeavour was therefore implemented with the objective of adapting place-based conservation to climate change impacts and sustaining critical ecoservices.

A total of twenty conservation practitioners and graduate students from the Albertine Rift countries of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania were engaged in Master’s level courses and field based externship projects. The very nature of this enterprise ensured attention to the critical importance of local ownership of conservation strategies, local participation in evaluating and prioritizing risks and response options, the highly context specific nature of adaptive responses and the need for a continuous process of learning at the local level.

Primary outputs include a baseline assessment of existing scientific and research capacity in the region; a graduate curriculum on courses related to climate change and biodiversity conservation; a detailed program report; and a network of individuals and institutions in the Albertine Rift region that can communicate and collaborate across borders in efforts towards conserving biodiversity under a changing climate. Phase II of this program, comprising of the education and training activity at the University of Dar es Salaam as well as a new distance learning component, is expected to begin in late 2009.

Contact Person

For more information, contact Jyoti Kulkarni, jkulkarni@start.org