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African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (1968)

Entry into Force: 16 June 1969


We, the Heads of State and Government of Independent African States,

Fully conscious that soil, water, flora and faunal resources constitute a capital of vital importance to mankind;

Confirming, as we accepted upon declaring our adherence to the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, that we know that it is our duty "to harness the natural and human resources of our continent for the total advancement of our peoples in spheres of human endeavour";

Fully conscious of the ever-growing importance of natural resources from an economic, nutritional, scientific, educational, cultural and aesthetic point of view;

Conscious of the dangers which threaten some of these irreplaceable assets;

Accepting that the utilization of the natural resources must aim at satisfying the needs of man according to the carrying capacity of the environment;

Desirous of undertaking individual and joint action for the conservation, utilization and development of these assets by establishing and maintaining their rational utilization for the present and future welfare of mankind;

Convinced that one of the most appropriate means of achieving this end is to bring into force a convention;

Have agreed as follows:

Article I

The Contracting States hereby establish an African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.


The Contracting States shall undertake to adopt the measures to ensure conservation, utilization and development of soil, water, flora and faunal resources in accordance with scientific principles and with due regard to the best interests of the people.


For purposes of the present Convention, the meaning of the following expressions shall be as defined below:

1. "Natural Resources" means renewable resources, that is soil, water, flora and fauna.

2. "Specimen" means an individual example of a species of wild animal or wild plant or part of a wild plant.

3. "Trophy" means any dead animal specimen or part thereof whether included in a manufactured or processed object or otherwise dealt with, unless it has lost its original identity; also nests, eggs and eggshells.

4. "Conservation area" means any protected natural resource area, whether it be a strict natural reserve, a national park or a special reserve;

a) "strict nature reserve" means an area:

b) "national park" means an area:

c) "special reserve" means other protected areas such as:

Article IV. SOIL

The Contracting States shall take effective measures for conservation and improvement of the soil and shall in particular combat erosion and misuse of the soil. To this end:

a) they shall establish land-use plans based on scientific investigations (ecological, pedological, economic, and sociological) and, in particular, classification and land-use capability;

b) they shall, when implementing agricultural practices and agrarian reforms,

Article V. WATER

1. The Contracting States shall establish policies for conservation, utilization and development of underground and surface water, and shall endeavour to guarantee for their populations a sufficient and continuous supply of suitable water, taking appropriate measures with due regard to:

2. Where surface or underground water resources are shared by two or more of the Contracting States, the latter shall act in consultation, and if the need arises, set up inter-State Commissions to study and resolve problems arising from the joint use of these resources, and for the joint development and conservation thereof.

Article VI. FLORA

1. The Contracting States shall take all necessary measures for the protection of flora and to ensure its best utilization and development. To this end the Contracting States shall:

a) adopt scientifically-based conservation, utilization and management plans of forests and' rangeland, taking into account the social and economic needs of the States concerned, the importance of the vegetation cover for the maintenance of the water balance of an area, the productivity of soils and the habitat requirements of the fauna;

b) observe section (a) above by paying particular attention to controlling bush fires, forest exploitation, land clearing for cultivation, and over-grazing by domestic and wild animals;

c) set aside areas for forest reserves and carry out afforestation programmes where necessary;

d) limitation of forest grazing to season and intensities that will not prevent forest regeneration; and

e) establish botanical gardens to perpetuate plant species of particular interest.

2. The Contracting States also shall undertake the conservation of plant species or communities, which are threatened and/or of special scientific or aesthetic value by ensuring that they are included in conservation areas.


1. The Contracting States shall ensure conservation, wise use and development of faunal resources and their environment, within the framework of land-use planning and of economic and social development. Management shall be carried out in accordance with plans based on scientific principles, and to that end the Contracting States shall:

a) manage wildlife populations inside designated areas according to the objectives of such areas and also manage exploitable wildlife populations outside such areas for an optimum sustained yield, compatible with and complementary to other land uses; and

b) manage aquatic environments, whether in fresh, brackish or coastal water, with a view to minimising deleterious effects of any water and land use practice which might adversely affect aquatic habitats.

2. The Contracting States shall adopt adequate legislation on hunting, capture and fishing, under which:

a) the issue of permits is properly regulated;

b) unauthorized methods are prohibited;

c) the following methods of hunting, capture and fishing are prohibited:

d) the following methods of hunting or capture are as far as possible prohibited:

e) with a view to as rational use as possible of game meat, the abandonment by hunters of carcasses of animals, which represent a food resource, is prohibited.

Capture of animals with the aid of drugs or mechanically propelled vehicles, or hunting or capture by night if carried out by, or under the control of, the competent authority shall nevertheless be exempted from the prohibitions under (c) above.


1. The Contracting States recognize that it is important and urgent to accord a special protection to those animal and plant species that are threatened with extinction, or which may become so, and to the habitat necessary to their survival. Where such a species is represented only in the territory of one Contracting State, that State has a particular responsibility for its protection. These species which are, or may be, listed according to the degree of protection that shall be given to them are placed in Class A or B of the Annex to this Convention, and shall be protected by Contracting States as follows:

1) species in Class A shall be totally protected throughout the entire territory of the Contracting States; the hunting, killing, capture or collection of specimens shall be permitted only on the authorization in each case of the highest competent authority and only if required in the national interest or for scientific purposes; and

2) species in Class B shall be totally protected, but may be hunted, killed, captured or collected under special authorization granted by the competent authority.

2. The competent authority of each Contracting State shall examine the necessity of applying the provisions of this article to species not listed in the annex, in order to conserve the indigenous flora and fauna of their respective countries. Such additional species shall be placed in Class A or B by the State concerned, according to its specific requirements.


1. In the case of animal species to which Article VIII does not apply the Contracting States shall:

a) regulate trade in and transport of specimens and trophies;

b) control the application of these regulations in such a way as to prevent trade in specimens and trophies which have been illegally captured or killed or obtained.

2. In the case of plant and animal species to which Article VIII paragraph (1) applies, the Contracting States shall:

a) take all measures similar to those in paragraph (1);

b) make the export of such specimens and trophies subject to an authorization:


1. The Contracting States shall maintain and extend where appropriate, within their territory and where applicable in their territorial waters, the Conservation areas existing at the time of entry into force of the present Convention and, preferably within the framework of land-use planning programmes, assess the necessity of establishing additional conservation areas in order to:

2. The Contracting States shall establish, where necessary, around the borders of conservation areas, zones within which the competent authorities shall control activities detrimental to the protected natural resources.


The Contracting States shall take all necessary legislative measures to reconcile customary rights with the provisions of this Convention.


The Contracting States shall encourage and promote research in conservation, utilization and management of natural resources and shall pay particular attention to ecological and sociological factors.


1. a) The Contracting States shall ensure that their peoples appreciate their close dependence on natural resources and that they understand the need, and rules for, the rational utilization of these resources.

b) For this purpose they shall ensure that the principles indicated in paragraph (1):

2. In order to put into effect paragraph (l) above, the Contracting States shall make maximum use of the educational value of conservation areas.


1. The Contracting States shall ensure that conservation and management of natural resources are treated as an integral part of national and/or regional development plans.

2. In the formulation of all development plans, full consideration shall be given to ecological, as well as to economic and social factors.

3. Where any development plan is likely to affect the natural resources of another State, the latter shall be consulted.


Each Contracting State shall establish, if it has not already done so, a single agency empowered to deal with all matters covered by the Convention, but, where this is not possible a co-ordinating machinery shall be established for this purpose.


1. The Contracting States shall co-operate:

a) whenever such co-operation is necessary to give effect to the provisions of this Convention and

b) whenever any national measure is likely to affect the natural resources of any other State.

2. The Contracting States shall supply the Organization of African Unity with:

a) the text of laws, decrees, regulations and instructions in force in their territories, which are intended to ensure the implementation of this Convention,

b) reports on the results achieved in applying the provisions of this Convention, and

c) all the information necessary for the complete documentation of matters dealt with by this Convention if requested.

3. If so requested by Contracting States, the organization of African Unity shall organize any meeting which may be necessary to dispose of any matters covered by this Convention. Requests for such meetings must be made by at least three of the Contracting States and be approved by two-thirds of the States which it is proposed should participate in such meetings.

4. Any expenditure arising from this Convention, which devolves upon the Organization of African Unity shall be included in its regular budget, unless shared by the Contracting States or otherwise defrayed.


1. The provisions of this Convention shall not affect the responsibilities of Contracting States concerning:

2. The provisions of this Convention shall not prevent Contracting States:

to enact measures contrary to the provisions of the Convention, provided their application is precisely defined in respect of aim, time and place.


Any dispute between the Contracting States relating to the interpretation or application of this Convention which cannot be settled by negotiation, shall at the request of any party be submitted to the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration of the Organization of African Unity.


1. This Convention shall be open for signature immediately after being approved by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity.

2. The Convention shall be ratified by each of the Contracting States. The instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.


1. At the time of signature, ratification or accession, any State may declare its acceptance of this Convention in part only, provided that such reservation may not apply to the provisions of Articles II-XI.

2. Reservations made in conformity with the preceding paragraph shall be deposited together with the instruments of ratification or accession.

3. Any Contracting State which has formulated a reservation in conformity with the preceding paragraph may at any time withdraw it by notifying the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.


1. This Convention shall come into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification or accession with the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity, who shall inform participating States accordingly.

2. In the case of a State ratifying or acceding to the Convention after the depositing of the fourth instrument of ratification or accession, the Convention shall come into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.

3. The London Convention of 1933 or any other Convention on the conservation of flora and fauna in their natural state shall cease to have effect in States in which this Convention has come into force.


1. After the date of approval specified in Article XIX paragraph (1), this Convention shall be open to accession by any independent and sovereign African State.

2. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.


1. Any Contracting State may denounce this Convention by notification in writing addressed to the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.

2. Such denunciation shall take effect, for such a State, one year after the date of receipt of its notification by the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.

3. No denunciation shall, however, be made before the expiry of a period of five years from the date at which for the State concerned this Convention comes into force.


1. After the expiry of a period of five years from the date of entry into force of this Convention, any Contracting State may at any time make a request for the revision of part or the whole of this Convention by notification in writing addressed to the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.

2. In the event of such a request the appropriate organ of the Organization of African Unity shall deal with the matter in accordance with the provisions of section 3 of Article XVI of this Convention.



The original of this Convention of which both the English and the French texts are authentic, shall be deposited with the Administrative Secretary General of the Organization of African Unity.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF we the Heads of State and Government of Independent African States, assembled at Algiers, Algeria, on 15 September 1968, have signed this Convention.


List of Protected Species  
Class A    
  Lemuroidae All Malagasy lemuroids
  Macaca sylvana Barbary ape
  Theropithecus gelada Gelada baboon
  Cercocebus galeritus galeritus Tana River mangabey
  Cercopithecus diana Diana monkey
  Colobus badius kirkii Zanzibar red colobus
  Colobus badius ruformitratus Tana River red colobus
  Colobus badius gordonorum Uhehe red colobus
  Colobus verus Green colobus
  Pan troglodytes Chimpanzee
  Pan paniscus Pygmy chimpanzee
  Gorilla gorilla Gorilla
  Epixerus spp. African palm squirrels
  Canis simensis Simenian jackal
  Osbornictis piscivora Water civet
  Fossa fossa Malagasy civet
  Eupleres spp. Falanouc
  Felis nigripes Black-footed cat
  Felis aurata African golden cat
  Acinonyx jubatus Cheetah
  Monachus monachus Mediterranean monk seal
  Dugong dugong Dugong
  Trichechis senegalenis West African manatee
  Equus asinus Wild ass
  Equus zebra zebra Cape mountain zebra
  Certotherium simum Square-lipped rhinoceros
  Cheoropsis liberiensis Pygmy hippopotamus
  Cervus elaphus barbarus Barbary stag
  Okapia johnstoni Okapi
  Taurotaragus derbianus derbianus Western giant eland
  Cephalophus jentiniki Jentink's duiker
  Hippotragus niger varinai Giant sable antelope
  Alcelaphus buselaphus Tora Hartebeest
  Alcelaphus buselaphus Swaynei's Hartebeest
  Nesotragus moschatus moschatus Zanzibar suni
  Dorcatragus megalotis Biera antelope
  Cazella dorcas neglecta Algerian dorcas gazelle
  Gazella dorcas massaesyla Moroccan dorcas gazelle
  Gazella leptocerus leprocerus Slender-horned gazelle
  Gazella pelzelni Pelzeln's gazelle
  Cazella spekei Speke's gazelle
  Gazella dama mhorr Mhorr gazelle
  Gazella dama lozanoi Rio de Ora dama gazelle
  Capra Walie Walia ibex
  Pelecanidae All pelicans
  Ciconiidae, Scopidae, All storks, hammerkops, ibises
  Ardeidae spoonbills, herons and bitterns
  Phoenicopteridae All flamingos
  Sagittarius serpentarius Secretary bird
  Aegypius, Gyps, Pseudogyps, Torgos, Triconoceps, Neophron All vultures
  Gypaetus barbatus Lammergeyer
  Stephanoaetas coronatus Crowned hawk-eagle
  Falco fasciinucha Teita falcon
  Agelastes melaegrides White-head guineafowl
  Afroparvo congensis Congo peacock
  Gruidae All cranes
  Bucorvus spp. All ground hornbills
  Picarthates orius White-necked rockfowl
  Picarthates gymnocephalus Grey-necked rockfowl
  Warsanglia johannis Warsangli linnet
  Cheloniidae, Dermochelyidaie All marine turtles
  Testudo gigantia Giant tortoise
  Testudo yniphora Angulated tortoise
  Testudo radiata Testudo radiata
  Macroscincus coctei Cape Verde skink
  Gecho uroplates Leaf-tailed gecko
  Casarea dussemieri Plate island boa
  Boilieria multicarinata Rhonde Island boa
  Acrantophis madagascariensi Acrantophis madagascariensi
  Acrantophis dumerilii Acrantophis dumerilii
  Bufo superciliaris  
  Nectophrynoides occidentalis  
  Caecobarbus Caecomastaccembelus, Eilicthys, Typheleotris, Pharetichthys Uegitglanis Blind fishes
  Welwitschia bainesii Welwitschia
  Encephalartos laurentanus Encephalartos
  Encepahalartos septentrionalis Encepahalartos
Class B    
  Insectivora Insectivora
    All other shrews of the family Potamogladiae
  Lorisidae All promisians of the family Lorisidae
    All monkeys except common baboons
  Manis gigantea Giant pangolin
  Manis temmincki Cape pangolin
  Manis tricuspis Tree pangolin
  Manis longicaudata Long-tailed tree pangolin
  Lutrinae All others of the sub-family Lutrinae
  Proteles cristatus Aardwolf
  Hyaena hyaena barbara Barbary hyaena
  Felis caracal Caracal lynx
  Felis serval Serval
  Panthera leo Lion
  Panthera pardus Leopard
  Tenrecidae Madagascar Tenrecs (all species)
  Crytoprocto ferox fossa
  Gailidinae All Malagasy mongooses of the sub-family Gailidinae
  Orycepteropus afer Aardvark
  Loxodonta africana Elephant
  Equus zebra hartmanne Hartmann's mountain zebra
  Equus burchelli Burchell's zebra
  Equus grevyi Grevy's zebra
  Diceros bicornis Black rhinoceros
  Hylocherus meinertzhageni Giant forest hog
  Hippopotamus amphibius Hippopotamus
  Hyemoschus aquaticus Water chevrotain
  Girrafa camelopardalis Giraffe
  Tragelaphus angasi Nyala
  Tragelaphus buxtoni Mountain nyala
  Tragelaphus spekei Situtunga
  Tragelaphus imberbis Lesser kudu
  Tregelaphus strepsiceros Greater kudu
  Taurotragus oryx Eland
  Taurotragus derbianus Giant eland
  Boocerus eurycerus Bongo
  Syncerus caffer Buffalo
  Cephalophus adersi Zanzibar duiker
  Cephalophus ogilbyi Ogilby's duiker
  Cephalophus silvicultor Yellow-backed duiker
  Cephalophus spadix Abbott's duiker
  Cephalophus Zebra Banded duiker
  Kobus ellipsiprymnus Waterbuck
  Kobus defassa Defassa waterbuck
  Kobus leche Lechwe
  Kobus magaceros Nile Lechwe
  Adenota kob Kob
  Redunca arundinum Reedbuck
  Redunca fulvorufula Mountain reedbuck
  Redunca redunca Bohor antelope
  Hippotragus equinus Roan antelope
  Hippootragus niger Sable antelope
  Oryx gazella Oryx
  Oryx tao Scimitar-horned oryx
  Addax nasomaculatus Addax
  Damaliscus lunatus Tsessebe (Sassaby)
  Damaliscus korrigum Top
  Damaliscus dorcas dorcas Bontebok
  Damaliscus dorcas phillipsi Blesbok
  Damaliscus hunteri Hunter's hartebeest
  Alcelaphus buselaphus Hartebeest
  Alcelaphus lichtensteini Lichtenstein s hartebeest
  Connochaetes gnou Black wildebeest
  Oreotragus oreotragus Klipspringer
  Ourebia spp. Oribis (All species)
  Neotragus pygmaeus Royal antelope
  Neotragus batesi Dwarf antelope
  Madoqua kirki Damara dikdik
  Aepyceros melampus Impala
  Ammodorcas clarkei Dibatag
  Litocranius walleri Gerenuk
  Gazella dorcas Dorcas gazelle
  Gazella rufifons Korin gazelle
  Gazella tilonura Heuglin's gazelle
  Gazella dama Dama gazelle
  Gazella soemmerringi Soemmering's gazelle
  Capre ibex nubiana Nubian ibex
  Ammotragus lervia Barbary sheep (Aoudad)
  Struthio camelus Ostrich
  Falconiformes etc., Strigiformers All birds of prey and all owls not in Class A
  Otididae All bustards
  Crocodilia All Crocodiles