UNESCO Nairobi Office organized the Regional Meeting of the African Network of Biosphere Reserves – AFRIMAB in Nairobi, Kenya from 13 – 18 September 2010, in collaboration with the Kenya National Commission for UNESCO, Kenya Wildlife Service and the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Kenya National Committee. AfriMAB is the Africa Sub-Saharan network of Biosphere reserves. By June 2010, there were 59 Biosphere reserves in 26 countries in Africa.
The official opening ceremony of the forum took place on 13 September 2010 at Lord Errol Gourmet Restaurant, Claremont Room, in Runda Estate, Nairobi. Key speakers at the ceremony were Prof. Joseph Massaquoi, Director of the UNESCO regional Office for Science and Technology, and Her Excellency Dr. Mary Khimulu, Kenya’s Permanent delegate to UNESCO. The Hon. Josphat Koli Nanok, Assistant Minister for Forestry and Wildlife who was the Guest of Honor officially opened the meeting.
The meeting on the theme ‘Sustainable Financing of Biosphere Reserves’ brought together participants from 22 African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali ,Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe ) and from various international institutions. It provided a platform for participants to exchange information on the status of implementation of the Madrid Action Plan for Biosphere Reserves in Africa and to agree on the operationalisation of the AfriMAB Charter and Statutes. The technical sessions focused on sustainable financing mechanisms of Biosphere Reserves.
The country reports revealed that African countries were on track for the implementation of the Madrid action plan. The participants agreed on a regional Action Plan to be implemented by 2013. This includes Capacity building, Research, Improvement of the management of Biosphere Reserves and Partnership.
One of the main results of the meeting was the adoption of the AFRIMAB Charter and Statutes by the General Assembly. 19 countries signed the document out of the 22 in attendance. The new bureau of AfriMAB was elected as follows:
During the technical session, participants were given a broad overview of the variety of financial instruments that may be needed to sustain the AfriMAB network. Participants agreed that the creation of a Trust Fund for African Biosphere reserves was probably the most appropriate. They called upon their governments and the other Member States to support its creation.