Africa Protected Areas Directors

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is excited to announce its participation at the second in-person conference of the Africa Protected Areas Directors (APAD) network, which has started today in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. This pivotal event spanning from March 5th to 8th, has brought together directors of protected and conserved areas (PCAs) from across Africa to address pressing conservation challenges facing the continent’s wildlife and wild lands.

Since its inception in 2020, with support from AWF, APAD has served as a catalyst for collaboration, knowledge sharing, and joint initiatives among protected area directors, amplifying African voices and leadership in conservation. The conference will focus on three key themes: securing sustainable funding, adapting to climate change, and fortifying collaboration among conservation leaders guided by the Global Biodiversity Framework adopted in 2021.

Minister for Environment, Zimbabwe – Hon. Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu said, “Zimbabwe is honored to host the Second Africa Protected Areas Directors Conference, a testament to our commitment to conservation excellence. As we gather in Victoria Falls, we recognize the vital role of protected area directors in safeguarding Africa’s natural heritage. Together, we will confront the challenges of funding, climate change adaptation, and collaboration head-on, guided by the Global Biodiversity Framework. Let us embrace the interconnectedness of conservation with our daily lives and communities, knowing that the health of our ecosystems determines our collective well-being and the legacy we leave for future generations.”

APAD has convened quarterly meetings, conducted surveys on COVID-19’s impact and PCA financing, and actively participated in various forums like the Africa Climate Summit and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28). In June 2023, AWF and APAD embarked on their maiden project, funded by the German Federal Government under the International Climate Protection Initiative (IKI).

Kaddu Sebunya, CEO of the African Wildlife Foundation, emphasized that the pivotal role that protected area directors play in the larger environmental landscape cannot be understated. Conservation is not just about protecting isolated pockets of the wilderness; it is about integrating conservation efforts into every aspect of our lives and communities. It is about understanding that the health of our ecosystems directly impacts our well-being and future generations.

The 2024 APAD conference, hosted by Zimparks, epitomizes the network’s commitment to collaboration, uniting APADs, key stakeholders, and partners in a concerted effort to forge a sustainable future for Africa’s conservation landscape.

Central to APAD’s mission is the empowerment of Protected Area Directors, who stand at the forefront of conservation efforts. Through rigorous capacity-building initiatives and peer-to-peer learning platforms, APAD equips these directors with the tools and knowledge needed to navigate the complex web of transboundary challenges. By fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge exchange, APAD ensures that no obstacle is insurmountable in pursuing conservation goals.

About AWF

The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) is the primary advocate for the protection of wildlife and wild lands as an essential part of a modern and prosperous Africa. Founded in 1961 to focus on Africa’s conservation needs, we articulate a uniquely African vision, bridge science and public policy, and demonstrate the benefits of conservation to ensure the survival of the continent’s wildlife and their habitats.

MEDIA CONTACTS: For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Wambui Odhiambo, AWF Senior Executive Communications Specialist on

Tinashe Farawo, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Public Relations Manager on