Mainstreaming Biodiversity and Development Africa leadership group

Article, 01 May 2014

NBSAPs stands for National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plans and all parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity have revised or are revising these plans. Now the implementation phase begins.

Mainstreaming biodiversity and development was a joint project running from 2012-2017, focusing on Botswana, Uganda, Namibia, the Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ghana and Zambia. The people listed below were the focal points for the project in each country.

Country team members


Baboloki Autlwetse

Baboloki Autlwetse holds a Master's degree in integrated water resources management and works for the Kalahari Conservation Society. He is involved in community awareness raising, capacity building, policy influencing and advocacy, as well as natural resources management in Botswana and across the region.

He possesses advanced practical and technical knowledge coupled with a passion for livelihoods improvement and environmental conservation.


Onkemetse Joseph is environment programmes officer at the Kalahari Conservation Society. He is in charge of the Community-based Natural Resource Management programme and coordinates the multi-stakeholder national CBNRM forum and environment education and awareness programmes. For this project Onkemetse will facilitate workshops on biodiversity mainstreaming as well as briefing stakeholders including Parliamentary committees. He also keeps conservationists abreast of the latest innovation and trends in the biodiversity sector.


Mosimanegape Nthaka works in the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism under the Department of Environmental Affairs. He co-leads the mainstreaming biodiversity project with Baboloki Autwetse of the Kalahari Conservation Society. The focus of the project will be how to integrate biodiversity with the Eleventh National Development Plan and the new Vision 2036. Botswana has recognised biodiversity as key to economic growth, particularly tourism, and the government has allocated budget to sectoral biodiversity plans. Nthaka would like to see the same happening with national initiatives, and believes the progress made with WAVES creates an environment conducive for this to happen.

Khulekani Mpofu of Botswana

Khulekani Mpofu works at the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.



Eric Amaning Okoree is chief executive officer of the National Biosafety Authority, CBD focal point and coordinator of the mainstreaming biodiversity project. He is also coordinating the NBSAP revision process. He expects to see key elements of the NBSAP in the next long-term National Development Plan and would like to see at least the Ministry of Environment budgeting for NBSAP elements. Over time, the team will move from implementation and budgeting only at national level to district level too.


Felix Addo-Yobo works for the National Development Planning Commission and has oversight responsibility for environmental issues. He thinks a particular challenge for biodiversity mainstreaming will be moving from the national level to districts where there is a lack of capacity for mainstreaming and applying good practice. The solution, tested in the climate change sector, lies in training sessions for planning officials at that level. However, while climate change became reflected in plans, there was no specific budget line. He and colleagues are already thinking about how to disaggregate budget lines to capture how much is allocated to biodiversity mainstreaming.

Ernest Lamptey

Ernest Lamptey works for the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana. 


Diana Mensah works in the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation. She has a background in human resources and is new to biodiversity mainstreaming. As part of the project Diana is helping to set up awareness raising and training sessions with the media and with farmers.

Yaw Osei Owusu

Yaw Osei Owusu works for the Conservation Alliance.

Alfred Oteng Yeboah

Alfred Oteng Yeboah sits on the National Biodivesity Committee and is a Professor at the Department of Botany at the University of Ghana.



Memory Kamoyo

Memory Kamoyo works for the Environmental Affairs Department.


Monipher Musasa is biodiversity officer in the Department for Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining in Malawi. She coordinates all biodiversity activities and research in the country. There is a lot of political will in Malawi to incorporate biodiversity concerns into development plans but the issue is adequate funding; this will remain a challenge for the near future.


John Mawenda did his BSc in Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Malawi and in 2012 became an environmental inspector in the Environmental Affairs department under Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining. He thinks a key issue for biodiversity mainstreaming is cross-departmental coordination and making sure that all teams work to the same standard and aims. 

Jester Kaunga Nyirenda

Jester Kaunga Nyirenda works for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.


Charity Mphatso Gambatula is a Bachelor of Social Sciences specialising in economics, from the University of Malawi. She works in the Economic Planning and Development department of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development monitoring how the National Development Plan is implemented. She is confident that biodiversity mainstreaming will happen as part of implementation and considers the forthcoming National Development Strategy as a good entry point.



Kauna Schroder

Kauna Schroder is the principal project coordinator and advisor to the Environmental Commissioner's Office in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Government of Namibia. She has responsibility for overseeing project implementation , with specific responsibility for biodiversity projects.

Kauna sees the biggest challenge for the NBSAPs revision process to be making sectors and institutions understand the links between biodiversity and their own work plans, and respond by putting adequate arrangements in place with dedicated staff to tackle mainstreaming.


Natalia Hamunyela is a senior conservation scientist in the Department of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. She is new to the biodiversity mainstreaming team having worked in environmental education and in responding to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. She feels a good start has been made in Namibia to mainstream biodiversity so is optimistic about what she can achieve in her new role.


Natalia Heita is in the Department of Environmental Affairs in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism working on a biodiversity management and climate change project funded by GIZ. She has a background in environmental law and provides legal advice on legislation related to biodiversity mainstreaming.

Marthin Kaukaha Kasaona

Marthin Kaukaha Kasaona works for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

Ferdinand Mwapopi

Ferdinand Mwapopi works for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.



Denis Matatiken is chief executive officer of Seychelles National Parks Authority and CBD focal point for NBSAPs revision. In the past Seychelles looked at biodiversity conservation in isolation, but now he firmly believes that all realised how fundamental it is to development.  

Marie May Jeremie

Marie-May Jeremie is the director (Standards and Enforcement section) in the Ministry of Environment and Energy. She has been part of the team drafting the revised NBSAP for the Seychelles and is optimistic about being able to work well with other parts of the government and stakeholders. The biggest challenge, she thinks, is getting across to finance colleagues what the economic benefits of biodiversity conservation will be. 

Patrick Course

Patrick Course is senior project accountant in the Ministry of Finance in Seychelles and has been involved in the NBSAPs revision for the past 18 months. He didn't see the need for mainstreaming biodiversity before being part of the team, but is now totally convinced of its importance.


Annike Faure has worked as NBSAPs project manager since 2013. She's pleased that there has been a lot of stakeholder involvement in the revision process and thinks that compared with the first NBSAP, the revised version covers many more sectors and is more holistic.

Kevin Moumou

Kevin Moumou works at the Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change.




Caroline Aguti

Caroline Aguti works at the Ministry of Energy.

Francis Ogwal

Francis Ogwal holds a Master's Degree in Environment and Natural Resources and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Forestry from Makerere University, Uganda. He has 19 years' experience in the field of biodiversity conservation and management.

Francis has been the national focal point for the Convention on Biological diversity (CBD) for Uganda since 2005. He is also the national focal point for the clearing house mechanism (CHM) under CBD. He is currently a vice president for COP11 representing the Africa region on the COP Bureau.

Francis has attended a number of professional training sessions, which include biosafety, payment for ecosystem services, management, environment and hydropower.

Evelyn Najjemba Lutalo

Evelyn Najjemba Lutalo is a scientist working with the National Environment Management Authority. She is a member of the national team reviewing and updating the NBSAP, specifically in relation to biotechnology and the biosafety status of Uganda.

She believes that biodiversity conservation and management are crucial to the sustainable development of any country. To ensure implementation of best practice, capacity building and communication should be enhanced at all levels to allow the effective participation of communities.

Ronald Kaggwa

Ronald Kaggwa is an environmental economist working for the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in Uganda. His work aims to show how biodiversity contributes to the country's national development goals, including  those for employment, poverty reduction and export revenue.

Ronald thinks that the main challenge for the NBSAP revision process is to convince policy and decision makers to view biodiversity as an economic asset. They must take it seriously and put in place supportive policies at macro and sectoral levels, with sufficient budget to back this up.

Moses Ssonko

Moses Ssonko works at the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development.

Aaron Werikhe

Aaron Werikhe is an Assistant Research Officer Uganda’s National Planning Authority. His role is to coordinate the mainstreaming of biodiversity at all levels of planning, with the authority having the mandate to disapprove sectoral or district plans if this does not happen. His department has plans to create a checklist of what biodiversity mainstreaming means on the ground, as many planners are economists with little or no perspective on the environment. Aaron himself used to be like that but over time has become passionate about the intricate relationship between development and the environment. 


Angella Rwabutomize is in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development and has been a lynchpin in persuading finance colleagues that they should take account of biodiversity concerns, and in turn, supporting NEMA staff to make a strong business case for biodiversity.



Sheila Nkonge

Sheila Nkonge works at the Ministry of National Development Planning.

Absalom Sakala

Absalom Sakala works at the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.


Ephraim Shitima works in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection. He spearheaded the NBSAP revision process in Zambia and is the CBD focal point. He’s optimistic about using this second NBSAP in biodiversity mainstreaming because there is a greater prospect of realistic resources being available and with the Sustainable Development Goals now launched and Zambia’s Seventh National Development Plan being drafted, the timing is right. 



Onismus Chipfunde

Onismus Chipfunde works at the Genetic Resources and Biotechnology Institute.

Chip Chirara

Chip Chirara is biodiversity coordinator at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Management in the Government of Zimbabwe. He has coordinated the drafting of the country's revised NBSAP. 

The challenge for Dr Chirara has been in gathering stakeholders together to collect their feedback and getting the messages of biodiversity conservation out into the public domain.

Cleopatra Mangombe

Cleopatra Mangombe is an environmental officer in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate. She focuses on policy and regulatory issues and coordinating parastatal activities. Her aim is to link activities as early as possible to potential policy. She thinks a key challenge for biodiversity mainstreaming will arise when opportunities for economic growth appear to outweigh biodiversity concerns. Before working in government, Cleopatra did relief teaching in rural areas which gave her an excellent insight into what people think about the environment in rural communities 

Abraham Matiza

Abraham Matiza works at the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate.



African leadership group – independent members

Brian Jones

Brian Jones is an independent consultant based in Namibia.

James Murombedzi

James Murombedzi is a researcher and co–director of the Responsive Forest Governance Initiative, based at the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) in Dakar, Senegal. He has many years of experience in environment and development, and has worked and consulted for various organisations and programmes, including UNDP, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Ford Foundation and the Center for Applied Social Science (CASS) of the University of Zimbabwe. 

His research work focuses on the political economy of environmental governance and rural development.

Juliane Zeidler

Juliane Zeidler is the director of Integrated Environmental Consultants Namibia, and a rangeland scientist. She has worked on a variety of levels with the various UN environmental conventions, especially the Convention on Biological Diversity. She was part of Namibia's National Biodiversity Task Force, worked at the CBD Secretariat and currently supports the Aichi target 1 work in her role as global chair of the IUCN Commission on Education and Communication (CEC). 

Juliane has a strong interest in defining and supporting meaningful approaches to mainstreaming biodiversity through strategic communication entry points, from a planning stage onwards.

Muyeye Chambwera

Muyeye Chambwera is an economist and development specialist currently working for UNDP Botswana as a sustainable development advisor. He has previously worked for IIED in London and in southern Africa for various organisations, including the World Wide Fund for Nature.

A key challenge for the NBSAPs 2.0 project is to put together the practical evidence that is central to convincing decision makers of the value of biodiversity to national goals. Equally challenging is the ability to find the entry points and space for making the case in the different countries. Policy processes take time while the project time frame is limited.

Having missed the opportunity to train as a professional referee he is now an amateur coach for his children. They have better skills but he teaches them perfection of skill and determination.

Ignatius Makumba

Ignatius Makumba is chief natural resources management officer in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection of the Government of Zambia. He has worked in government for more than 20 years: in the forestry department, at Zambia Forestry College as an instructor, and in the Environment and Natural Resources Management Department in charge of policy formulation.

Ignatius is the national focal point for the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). He is leading the process of reviewing and updating the NBSAP in Zambia. The major challenge is resource mobilisation for the initial review of the plan. Work has already commenced, using finances made available by the government.

Ignatius enjoys travelling and mingling with the local communities in the rural areas. He is an ardent athlete who enjoys jogging, playing and watching soccer, tennis, chess and badminton.

Samson Mulonga

Samson Mulonga is programme officer, biodiversity and climate change, at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

Samson has been involved in revising Namibia's NBSAP. He thinks a challenge for the process will be bringing key stakeholders on board and mobilisation of financial resources to ensure effective implementation of the NBSAP. He is confident, however, that Namibia is prioritising the NBSAPs process and already a number of ey stakeholders are involved, including political office bearers.

Samson is happiest when he is out camping, travelling to remote areas or hiking. He is an amateur birding enthusiast.