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Action Plan

The activities, expected outcomes and targets of the ABGN:

A. Understanding and documenting plant diversity

Outcomes:

1. Botanical gardens contribute to the compilation of baseline data on African biodiversity and its conservation, including:

(a) Medicinal/ethnobotanical plants and their uses.
(b) Plant collections in botanical gardens.
(c) National biodiversity assessments, including conservation status surveys.
(d) Projects in conservation, education and sustainable use.
(e) Indigenous and alien invasive flora.

2. Botanical gardens work with stakeholders (e.g. nature conservation agencies, protected areas) to determine specific conservation needs for threatened plant taxa.
3. Specialised workshops are held to develop and improve conservation capacity and practices.
4. Regional botanical information resources are promoted and supported.
5. Enhanced access to electronic communications and resources.
6. Appropriate conservation and network information is distributed to relevant institutions and agencies outside the network through all effective means.

Targets:

1. All botanical gardens to have adequate access to electronic information in order for them to function in support of education, conservation and sustainable use programmes.
2. Botanical gardens should contribute to the development of national lists of threatened plant species in all countries of Africa.
3. Completion of an African programme with models and protocols for education, plant conservation and sustainable use, based on research and practical experience.
4. All botanical gardens to promote at least one local culture and its plant-related knowledge, innovations and practices.

B. Conserving plant diversity

Outcomes:

1. The provision of cost-effective and accessible in-country propagation and storage facilities.
2. Plant material to be accessible in order to support species recovery and habitat restoration, according to relevant national, international and cultural obligations and provisions.
3. Adoption of integrated plant conservation practices to ensure the effective application of in situ and ex situ conservation approaches.
4. Adoption of best practice criteria/standards in the genetic management and documentation of threatened plant populations, both ex situ and in situ.

In situ conservation

(a) Undertake or participate in programmes aimed at conserving species in situ, including species recovery programmes, habitat restoration, control of invasive species and management of plant populations and ecosystems.
(b) Adopt collaborative measures to conserve areas of threatened endemics (e.g. important areas for plant diversity).
(c) Adopt collaborative measures to conserve areas providing essential ecosystem services and plant resources.
(d) Develop and support appropriate strategies and programmes for the conservation of biodiversity in human-dominated urban and rural landscapes.

Ex situ conservation

(a) Develop and undertake planned programmes for species recovery, giving preference to plant species that are indigenous to their own region, especially ones that are threatened, endemic, of cultural and potential/actual economic value.
(b) Provision of ex situ management resources and skills for regional conservation agencies and local communities in support of species recovery, habitat restoration and sustainable use.
(e) Development of infrastructure and facilities, including cultivation and storage, to enable gardens to undertake effective ex situ conservation.
d) Develop and implement programmes in applied conservation biology research.

5. Develop and implement policies to reduce the risk of releasing invasive species, pathogens and potentially harmful genetically modified organisms.
6. Demonstrate best practice in invasive species management.
7. Developing and running educational programmes to emphasise the damaging impact of invasive species and to outline appropriate community responses.

Targets:

5. Based on assessment of candidate taxa, 40% of threatened plant species should be held in accessible ex situ collections, preferably in the country of origin, and 2% of them should be included in recovery or restoration programmes.
6. At least 50% of Africa's botanical gardens should participate in measures to conserve nationally and locally important areas of plant diversity.
7. Africa's botanical gardens must carry out invasive plant risk assessments within their collections and 60% contribute to model control programmes on a total of 20 invasive species.

C. Using plant diversity sustainably

Outcomes:

1. Encourage the sustainable use, fair and equitable trade in plant resources through effective management and the establishment of cultivation programmes.
2. Use educational and training programmes to promote sustainable harvesting of natural resources.
3. Play an active and influential role in managing international trade issues through national CITES implementation.
4. Development of an effective role in halting the decline of plant resources, and associated local and indigenous knowledge, innovations and practices, that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care.

Targets:

8. Botanical gardens should participate in the national implementation of CITES in each country of Africa.
9. 20 botanical gardens should develop and implement management models and protocols for 40 economically and culturally important plant taxa.
10. At least 50% of botanical gardens should contribute to national programmes that aim to halt the decline of plant resources and associated indigenous and local knowledge, innovations and practices, that support sustainable livelihoods, local food security and health care.

D. Promoting education and awareness about plant diversity

Outcomes:

1. The development of an environmental education strategy (encompassing both formal and informal education and interpretation activities), with an emphasis on the need to foster a greater sense of individual environmental responsibility, motivation and commitment towards sustainability.

(a) The establishment of education programmes in all botanical gardens, with qualified professional staff, that directly serve local and national educational needs.
(b) The re-orientation of education programmes to incorporate a vision for a more socially and environmentally sustainable future, emphasising the vital role of plants and ecosystems in sustaining human society.

2. The development of a greater awareness of the values of ecosystems and their roles in the provision of ecosystem services and plant resources.
3. The development of innovative and dynamic education programmes to focus on identified target audiences, including decision-makers, students, teachers and the general public.

Targets:

11. To have environmental education programmes operating with trained staff in 60% of Africa's botanical gardens.
12. To have in place 20 model environmental education programmes that illustrate the value of indigenous flora, natural habitats and ecosystem services, especially of nationally important sites for plant diversity, local community benefits and sustainable use.

E. Building capacity for the conservation of plant diversity

Outcomes:

1. Botanical gardens should play a crucial role in building capacity for the conservation, education and sustainable use of biodiversity, by undertaking training programmes to strengthen the role of botanical gardens. Training priorities should include, but not be limited to:

(a) Plant identification, taxonomy and systematics.
(b) Herbarium management.
(c) Horticulture.
(d) Threatened species management and recovery.
(e) Botanical garden administration (organisation) and management.
(f) Plant and germplasm collection management.
(g) Environmental education and interpretation.
(h) Public education in plant conservation.
(i) Nature-based and cultural tourism.
(J) Project development, management and writing grant applications.
(k) Information management.
(1) Fund-raising and events planning.
(m) Habitat management and restoration.

2. African botanical gardens should improve their skills-base and strengthen regional co-operation through skills exchange between member gardens and partners.
3. African botanical gardens must achieve improved financial viability through effective business planning, marketing and diversification of botanical gardens services.
4. The ABGN Secretariat and members must play proactive roles in identifying and accessing resources in support of botanical gardens in Africa.
5. Community service opportunities should be initiated and strengthened to:

(a) Develop strategies for the recruitment and management of volunteers.
(b) Establish and nurture `Friends of the Garden', membership programmes and other support groups.
(c) Plan and undertake special events and fund-raising activities.
(d) Establish nature-based and cultural tourism programmes.

6. Productive relationships within and between botanical gardens, conservation groups, land managers, commercial and private sectors, tourism agencies, local communities and other interested bodies must be established to further conservation, education and sustainable development objectives.
7. The ABGN members should participate in local, national, regional and international education, conservation and sustainable development fora and programmes.
8. The ABGN acknowledges the importance of targeting and lobbying politicians and decision makers to support the work of botanical gardens in education, conservation and in promoting the sustainable use of plants in the region.
9. Information is to be developed and disseminated to promote regional conservation, education and sustainable use of plants (in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, as appropriate), including:

(a) An ABGN Internet web site and clearing house mechanism.
(b) An ABGN bulletin.
(c) Publications, manuals, protocols and databases, including network procedures and policies.
(d) Conservation case studies.
(e) Information on germplasm exchange, access and benefit-sharing issues and regulations by country.
(f) Information on botanical gardens, their resources and activities throughout Africa.

Targets:

13. At least one botanical garden must be established in each country of Africa, preferably in areas of important plant diversity and endemism.
14. Training courses for seven subjects completed by the network, involving 300 participants, must be presented.
15. ABGN and regional networks must be strengthened and supported with adequate resources to achieve the targets set out in this action plan.
16. One million visitors must access the ABGN web site and associated resources.