African ecosystems offer a wide range of essential services, including timber, meat, water and medicines, and play a key role in global systems, including biodiversity and climate regulation. Scientific knowledge is key to maintaining all these systems. However, many African countries lack this knowledge or the capacity to sustainably manage ecosystem resources. A number of regional observatories and regional coordination bodies have been created to support research and generate knowledge to support decision making. This session, hosted by CIFOR-ICRAF, will bring together observatory experts with the heads of regional institutions and other stakeholders to discuss the role of regional observatories in sustainably managing the continent’s ecosystems.