■ The inland waters of central Africa support an exceptionally high diversity of aquatic species, with high levels of endemism. Many of these species provide direct (e.g. fisheries) or indirect (e.g. water purification) benefits to people. The conservation of these species is most important to the livelihoods and economies of the regions’ people.
■ More than 15% of species across the region are currently threatened and future levels of threat are expected to rise significantly due to increasing development throughout the region, and an associated higher demand for natural resources.
■ Data on the distribution, conservation status, and ecology of 1,207 species of fish, 166 molluscs, 458 odonates, 38 crabs and 392 selected aquatic plants are now freely available through this project and on this website.
■ The data made available through this assessment must be integrated within the decision-making processes in planning for the conservation and development of inland water resources. Lack of available information should no longer be given as a reason for inadequate consideration for development impacts to freshwater species.
■ Species information remains very limited for many species within the region, with 21% of known species classified as Data Deficient. Regions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in particular are identified as a priority for future surveys. All taxonomic groups lack vital data on species distributions and threats, but spatial information on aquatic plants in particular needs to be greatly improved throughout the region.