Biodiversity within inland water ecosystems in southern Africa is both highly diverse and of great regional importance to livelihoods and economies. Many of southern Africa’s coastal drainages have sites which contain species that only occur in that area, including the Kunene and Kwanza rivers on the west coast of Angola, and the Rovuma and Pungwe and Buzi systems on the east coast of Mozambique. However, development activities are not always compatible with the conservation of this diversity and it is poorly represented within the development planning process. One of the main reasons cited for inadequate representation of biodiversity is a lack of readily available information on the status and distribution of inland water taxa. In response to this need for information, the IUCN Species Programme, in collaboration with the South Africa Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) conducted a regional assessment of the status and distribution of 1,279 taxa of freshwater fishes, molluscs, odonates, crabs, and selected families of aquatic plants from across southern Africa. 

The full regional report is available to download from the IUCN Freshwater Biodiversity Unit pages here. Please note, as this project was carried out over six years, regional assessments may not be as accurate as more recently completed global assessments for a species. For the most up-to-date information currently available to the IUCN for a particular species, check the Global or Pan-Africa assessments.

Southern Africa assessment region