Newswise — Windhoek, Namibia, March 8, 2024 -- The SMART Partnership is pleased to announce the inaugural SMART Global Congress in Windhoek, Namibia from 10-14 March 2024. Established in 2011, the SMART Partnership is the global leader in conservation area management solutions, offering an integrated suite of powerful tools and services to help conservation practitioners improve management effectiveness and better protect wildlife.

The partnership includes: Frankfurt Zoological Society, North Carolina Zoo, Panthera, Re:wild, WCS, Wildlife Protection Solutions, World Wildlife Fund, and Zoological Society of London. 

The SMART Global Congress marks a significant milestone in the nearly 15-year history of SMART. For the first time ever, the partnership is convening the global SMART community to share experiences and lessons learned. More than 300 SMART practitioners from more than 55 different countries are set to participate.

Notable speakers at the congress, including a distinguished keynote from Mr. Teofilus Nghitila, Executive Director of the Namibian Ministry of Forestry, Environment & Tourism, as well as several other renowned conservation practitioners from around the world, include:

  • Dr. Emma Stokes, Vice President Field Conservation, Wildlife Conservation Society: Dr. Stokes oversees the global portfolio of regional programs for Wildlife Conservation Society in nearly 60 countries and across the world’s oceans.
  • Dr. Madhu Rao, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas: Dr. Rao brings over 25 years of experience in designing and supporting the implementation of conservation field programs across Asia.
  • Dr. Tara Stoinski, President, CEO and Chief Scientific Officer, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund: Dr. Stoinski has studied gorillas for more than two decades and is the author of over 150 scientific publications and books.
  • Dr. Supagit Vinitpornsawan, Director of SMART Patrol Monitoring Center, Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, Thailand: Dr. Vinitpornsawan leads the National SMART center for DNP in Thailand.
  • Rohit Singh, Director of Protected and Conserved Area Management and Governance, World Wildlife Fund (WWF): Mr. Singh has worked on conservation, protected area management and illegal wildlife trade issues for 19 years, and has been instrumental in driving forward the agenda to professionalize the ranger force globally. 
  • Jonathan Palmer, WCS Executive Director of Conservation Technology and SMART Chief Technology Officer, who has led on the development of SMART technology since its inception.
  • Dr. Richard Bergl, Director of Animal Care, Conservation, Education and Science, North Carolina Zoo: Dr. Bergl has worked in wildlife conservation across Africa for 25 years, and is one of the founding members and current Chair of the SMART Partnership.

The congress will be hosted at the Mercure Hotel and Conference Centre located at the corner of Auas and Aviation Road, Windhoek, Namibia, 9000 WINDHOEK, Namibia. 

Media are invited to attend. To attend, journalists should contact Nathalia Santana ([email protected]+1 917 586 0129.)

Since its creation in 2011, in response to the alarming decline in global wildlife populations, the SMART Partnership has aimed to provide the tools and training that are critical for effective conservation area management. Originally focused on improving wildlife protection by enabling data driven decision making in terrestrial protected areas, SMART’s power and flexibility have allowed it to continuously evolve. Currently deployed in over 1,200 sites across more than 100 countries, SMART has become an indispensable resource for the conservation of global biodiversity.

Recent international developments underscore the significance and potential for impact of tools like SMART. The new Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, signed by almost 200 countries at COP15, commits nations to safeguarding at least 30 percent of the planet by 2030. SMART will play a critical role in the effective management of these sites, monitoring and reporting important data on progress towards meeting these ambitious targets. 

SMART’s impact now extends well beyond terrestrial sites. It is deployed by local and Indigenous communities, field researchers, and even facility managers. Its applications span diverse environments, including marine areas, deserts, the arctic and globally-focused climate change mitigation projects. With tens of thousands of conservationists around the world using SMART, the tool has become integral in crafting data-driven strategies for effective biodiversity conservation. 


Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

WCS combines the power of its zoos and an aquarium in New York City and a Global Conservation Program in more than 50 countries to achieve its mission to save wildlife and wild places. WCS runs the world’s largest conservation field program, protecting more than 50 percent of Earth’s known biodiversity; in partnership with governments, Indigenous People, Local Communities, and the private sector. It’s four zoos and aquarium (the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and the New York Aquarium ) welcomes more than 3.5 million visitors each year, inspiring generations to care for nature. Founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society, the organization is led (as of June 1, 2023) by President and CEO Monica P. Medina. Visit: Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: +1 (347) 840-1242Listen to the WCS Wild Audio podcast HERE.