Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are sites that contribute significantly to the global persistence of biodiversity, including vital habitat for threatened plant and animal species in terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems. The Global Standard for the Identification of Key Biodiversity Areas (IUCN 2016) sets out globally agreed criteria for the identification of KBAs worldwide.
BirdLife South Africa has formed a strategic partnership with the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) to initiate the KBA Programme in South Africa. Together, we co-chair the KBA National Coordination Group and are overseeing the technical review of South Africa’s network of KBAs. BirdLife South Africa is providing all the relevant information on birds to ensure that all sites that are important for birds, are considered for KBA status. Spatial data gathered through citizen science platforms (BirdLasser and SABAP2) are also included.
Through the initiation of the KBA programme in South Africa, Daniel Marnewick was nominated onto the global KBA Committee as the Chair of the KBA Community. Daniel is responsible for creating ‘groundswell’ of support for KBAs and the establishment of national KBA programmes across the world, particularly in Africa. The KBA Community serves as the body through which the broader KBA community of practice can engage in the identification and conservation of KBAs and have a voice on the KBA Committee. Daniel has supported a number of countries, particularly in Africa, to initiate national KBA Programmes through various trainings and workshops. Daniel is also supporting the KBA Committee to entrench KBAs in the CBD Post-2020 targets.
The identification of KBAs is meant to be a bottom up processes, i.e. these sites are identified and proposed by local experts. To facilitate this, countries are encouraged to establish KBA National Coordination Groups (NCGs). NCGs are constituted of representatives from government agencies, KBA partner country offices, and other taxa and spatial planning experts. NCGs should identify KBAs and vet KBA proposals before these proposals go to the KBA Regional Focal Point and ultimately to the KBA Secretariat for loading onto the KBA World Database.
The below map shows where BirdLife South Africa’s Regional Conservation Programme has been supporting African countries to establish KBA NCGs and begin identifying KBAs.