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Inaugural Congress of the Africain Primatological Society

The African Primatological Society (APS) will hold its inaugural Congress and Workshop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, from July 25-27, 2017. We are very proud and excited to announce this history making Congress which will officially establish the APS for the advancement of African primate research and conservation.

At the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group African Primate Red List Assessment Workshop held in Rome, Italy from the18th – 23rd of April 2016, experts assessed the conservation status of African primates wherein 100 out of 179 taxa were classified as threatened with 35 endangered and 15 critically endangered species. More than ever before, these assessments revealed the dire situation facing African primates and drew attention to the potential for imminent and catastrophic loss of the continent’s rich primate biodiversity if concrete steps are not taken urgently to reverse the current trend (Imong et al. 2016). Thus, it became evident that there should be greater commitment from all stakeholders. Thus national governments, international organizations, donor agencies, research institutions, local communities, groups and individuals must reassess their levels of commitment and intervention strategies, and reposition themselves to be more effective in their efforts to save Africa’s primate diversity. In particular, Africans must be better positioned to lead efforts if long term, effective conservation of African primates is to be realized.

As a result, the African attendees at this workshop held a series of meetings to discuss progress towards the formation of an African primate group/society. The meetings in Rome, Italy built on that of the former African Primate Working Group (APWG) held in Cape Town, South Africa in July 2015. The APWG itself was formed after several discussions which have taken place since 2012 at the International Primatological Society (IPS) congresses in Cancun, Mexico and in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2014. 

The decision to transition from a Working Group to a Society has come at an opportune time with many more researchers and conservationists working on African primates increasingly more interested in being part of a home-grown network. A steering committee was immediately constituted in Rome to deliver on the mandate of first Congress inaugurating this new society, and undertaking associated activities to facilitate the affairs of the group. Two members of the APS received support by Conservation International to promote the APS during the IPS meeting in August 2016 and the announcement of the inaugural congress of the APS received enthusiastic support.

The Congress will gather together approximately 150-200 African Primatologists, non-African researchers and conservationists working on African primates as well as other stakeholders. The first general assembly of APS members will also take place, as well as keynote addresses during plenaries from outstanding primatologists, poster sessions and round table discussions.

 

OBJECTIVES

The overall goal of the congress is to formally inaugurate the African Primatological Society and position the group to serve as a platform for knowledge and experience sharing amongst researchers, conservationists, education practitioners, donors and decision makers across the African continent towards the effective conservation of African primates.

Specific objectives with corresponding activities include:

- To improve knowledge of the advances, constraints, and future perspectives of Primatology in the different regions of Africa (Western Africa, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Southern Africa, Central Africa, and Madagascar)

- One or two persons will be selected per region primarily amongst the members of the steering committee of the APS to collect information about the state of primatology in their respective region before the date of the congress, and document it with the inputs of the maximum of stakeholders with expert knowledge of the region.

Subtopics will include:
Primate education: issues, curricula, number of locals trained at various levels, fields of expertise, lessons, opportunities, future perspectives…
Primate research: topics including funding issues, number of projects involving Africans vs number of projects led or co-led by Africans, topics, species, number of publications vs number of publications co-authored by Africans vs number of publications with Africans as first authors or corresponding authors, lessons, opportunities, future perspectives…
Primate conservation: constraints including funding issues, conservation challenges, number of projects involving Africans vs number of projects led or co-led by Africans, species considered, impacts, scopes, opportunities, future perspectives… 

    • Day 1 of the Congress will be dedicated to the presentation of the results of the above information gathering exercise during plenaries. These talks will be preceded by a keynote speech by Russ Mittermeier entitled “The promises of regional leadership in the field of primatology: A comparative analysis across continents”.
    • The results of these investigations will be published as a CSRS document and in a special issue of African Primates.
  • To share results of selected projects dealing with various aspects of African Primatology (ecology, ethology, systematics, taxonomy, distribution, epidemiology, anthropology, human-primate interactions, conflicts, education, conservation…);
    • The Scientific Committee will select up to 50 abstracts for oral communications and up to 20 posters.
    • During Day 2 of the Congress, selected candidates will give their oral presentations during several parallel sessions with simultaneous English-French translation. These talks will be preceded by a keynote speech from an international guest on the topic: “Primate research and conservation in Africa: lessons from long-term North-South Cooperation”.
    • A poster session will be organized and visitors will be invited to evaluate the quality of competing posters and their presentation on specific sheets in order for a jury to select the winner of the award of the best poster.
    • Day 3 of the Congress will start by a keynote speech by an international guest on the topic “New challenges and opportunities in Primate Conservation across Africa”.

A round table will be organized on the topic “Why and how to develop African leadership in Primatology?” Panelists will include representatives of IUCN/PSG, IPS, African primatologists, the Brazilian Primatological Society, and donors.   

  • To adopt the constitution of the APS and elect chairs of the different governance bodies.
    • An ad hoc committee will be established to draft the constitution of the society, and integrate inputs from stakeholders before the dates of the Congress.
    • Once the constitution of the Society is finalized, an Election Committee will launch calls for applications to elect the President of the Association and other officers, shortlist the best candidates per position and organize votes.  

The names of featured speakers and panelists will be communicated on the congress webpage in due time (www.csrs.ch/aps.index.php).   
Of note is that a 4th day will be dedicated either to a workshop on the burgeoning Red colobus action plan, or to an excursion in a primate field site for those who do not work on red colobus monkeys. There will also potentially be a 2-day post-congress training for selected early career primatologists who have been identified as showing keen interest in pursuing a career in primatology.

The African Primatological Society (APS) is convinced that our proposed congress is relevant to the interest of protecting critically endangered primates and of preserving primate diversity in their natural habitat. In the first instance, the objective of APS is to promote primate research and improve the conservation of African primates by encouraging greater involvement and leadership of African primatologists. Currently, 56% of the 179 primates assessed for mainland Africa and 87 % of the 103 primate taxa assessed for Madagascar are threatened. Thus, many African primate species are facing extinction despite all current multifaceted conservation efforts. This suggests a need for greater commitment from all stakeholders, especially Africans themselves. Yet the critical mass of skilled African primatologists required to stimulate debates and influence policies does not exist. Many existing African primatologists play only secondary roles in research and conservation projects if they actually stay in the field of primatology. The few outstanding African primatologists are unknown to one another and thus do not have the ideal forum to share experiences that will enhance their efforts. We believe that without much greater involvement and leadership from Africans, primate conservation efforts will continue to be jeopardized. Thus, the establishment of a group that will enhance conservation efforts and promote information sharing within the African continent can be seen as a potential opportunity to make primate conservation more effective.

 

CONGRESS VENUE
The Congress will take place in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa. The country harbors one of the highest primate diversities in Africa (20+ species) and is relatively easy to access by plane from most regions of Africa and Europe with direct flights. The Congress will be hosted by the Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d’Ivoire (CSRS) which has three long-term primate research and conservation projects including one led by a national. The Congress will be co-hosted by the Université Félix Houphouet-Boigny, which offers a number of facilities of international standards including modern theatres, meeting rooms, shuttles, and exhibition halls.

 

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
Before registration, we invite scientists and practicionners working on African Primates to submit abstracts for oral presentations and posters (see call for abstract at the following link : http://www.csrs.ch/aps/fichiers/aps2017_abstract_firstname_name
Then go on the page for the online submission of abstracts : http://www.csrs.ch/aps/eng/ins-resume.php

REGISTRATION
Every person who wishes to attend the congress has to join in due form and pay the expenses of participation. The registration will be opened from April 2nd, 2017, in particular for those who will have to wait for a definitive decision concerning the subdued summaries and/or their request of financial support of the organizers. You can join earlier if you are in none of these cases. The registration form is available on the Web page of the congress: http://www.csrs.ch/aps/eng/inscription-form.php

PARTICIPATION
Even if your paper is accepted, your participation in the conference is conditioned by the payment of the registration fee. The amounts of the fees are listed below. The registration fee includes documentation, participation in the various plenary and simultaneous sessions, coffee breaks and lunches.

Registration

Before 20 June 2017 (XOF)

From 21 June 2017 (XOF)

Africans

50,000

75,000

Non Africans

75,000

100,000

Students

25,000

30,000

For conversion into your currency, please visit the website:  www.xe.com/fr

The payment may be made under two scenarios:

  • Scenario 1: by bank transfer no later than 30 June 2017 on the account provided by CSRS (specify object: costs of participation in APS 2017 and fax transfer order at +225 23 45 12 11, an acknowledgment of receipt will be sent to the e-mail address indicated by you).
  • Scenario 2: Cash payment at CSRS or on the conference venue until we go through all the available places.

A limited number of grants will be offered to selected African Primatologists if their abstracts is selected for an oral communication or a poster. Interested candidates must apply for a grant when submitting their abstracts. Grants may cover one or several of the following items: return plane ticket (from an African city), accommodation (5 nights), registration fees, daily subsistence fees (6 days).

Evidence for co-funding will be an asset.

For more information, please send an e-mail to: aps@csrs.ci

 

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