- The state of Angola has joined the global environmentalist union IUCN, becoming its 81st state member and the 31st in Africa. With this membership, Angola receives aid regarding policy development and nature conservation and will be joining a regional coastal and marine ecosystems programme.
The IUCN today announced that Angola had become Africa's 31st state member of the global nature conservation union. "To us, this is a milestone in our quest to achieve a worldwide spread of IUCN membership and to widen IUCN's influence and capacity to achieve our mission," commented Ursula Hiltbrunner, Head of IUCN's Governance Unit.
As part of this global conservation partnership, the government of Angola, among other benefits, was said to get access to diverse expertise and knowledge required to effectively address the multitude of conservation and development problems that will be encountered in the post-war reconstruction and development programme, according to IUCN.
James Murombedzi, the regional director of the environmentalist grouping, today welcomed the broadening of his Southern Africa office. "IUCN will soon be collaborating with the government of Angola in a regional coastal and marine ecosystems programme stretching from the north of Mozambique, around the Cape, to the North of Angola," Mr Murombedzi promised.
According to IUCN, the main environmental challenges currently being faced by Angola include overuse of pasture and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures, desertification, deforestation and tropical rain forest among many others. The environmentalists have a wealth of experience from other African countries to draw on when they now are to advice and assist the Angolan government.
Dr Murombedzi however emphasised that IUCN and Angola already have enjoyed a fruitful relationship for a long time. "In 1992, IUCN assisted Angola in carrying out a comprehensive evaluation of the state of the environment and natural resources in that country," the Southern Africa Regional Director says.
- To date, this remains the single most important source of information on the Angolan environment, Mr Murombedzi added. Building on this study, IUCN says it "will seek to engage in a wide range of relevant capacity building initiatives in Angola, linking the Angolan members with the rest of the Union."
Located on the Atlantic Coast of southern Africa, Angola shares borders with Namibia to the south and Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the east and south respectively. Her population of more than 12 million is still recovering from a long and bloody civil war that also caused immense biodiversity loss for several years. Due to the warfare, environmentalist works have been very limited in the past.
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