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Jessica Stewart

Programme Officer | Conserving Land and Seascapes

Jess leads UNEP-WCMC’s work on territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities (ICCAs). She works with national partners to support the documentation of ICCAs in the Global ICCA Registry and Protected Planet Databases.

Jess works on the Protected Planet Initiative, which is the global authority on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures data. Her focus is on Southern and Eastern Africa, leading UNEP-WCMC’s work in this region through the BIOPAMA programme.

Previous experience & expertise

Jessica joined UNEP-WCMC after graduating with an MSc in Conservation Biology from DICE at the University of Kent in September 2017. Prior to this, she was managing an overseas research project in South Africa where she explored behaviour and cognition in Cape Ground Squirrels. She has also investigated the factors contributing to the increase in migration of Maasai into the city of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, and has a background in both physical and human geography.

Recent work by Jessica Stewart

BIOPAMA progamme |

The Biodiversity and Protected Areas Management Programme (BIOPAMA) aims to improve the long-term conservation and sustainable use of natural resource in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, in protected areas and surrounding communities.

Protected Planet Initiative |

Jess focuses on the Southern and Eastern Africa region and works with government agencies, private, community and NGO actors to pull together the most up to date information on protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures. These data feed into the following databases that underpin the Protected Planet Initiative:

1.    World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA)

2.    World Database on other effective area-based conservation measures (WD-OECM)

3.    Global Database on Protected Area Management Effectiveness (GD-PAME)

ICCA Global Support Initiative |

UNEP-WCMC play a key role in the ICCA Global Support Initiative through their Global ICCA Registry. This registry has been developed to raise awareness of the significance of indigenous peoples’ and community-led conservation practices. Listing ICCAs in the ICCA Registry (and Protected Planet) will contribute to a better understanding of the contributions ICCAs make to conservation, as well as the challenges communities face in defending their territories and ways of life