Media Release: SANParks and Eastern Cape Parks Sign Collaboration Agreement
Today (Tuesday, 25 February, 2008) the Chief Executives of South African National Parks (SANParks) and Eastern Cape Parks signified their commitment to collaborate on conservation and tourism issues in a Technical Cooperation Agreement.
The agreement recognizes the two organisationsâ€™ mutual interest both in protecting biodiversity and the environment and in managing and utilizing this biodiversity in a manner that will benefit present and future generations.
â€śWe look forward to a fruitful cooperative governance partnership,â€ť said Dr. David Mabunda, Chief Executive of SANParks.
Mabunda added that the challenge for SANParks and Eastern Cape Parks would be to continue the vital role of biodiversity conservation in a highly transformed landscape with a multitude of land-uses by using a holistic approach to management in terms of nurturing partnerships between organs of state and the private sector.
Nokulunga Maswana, Eastern Cape Parksâ€™ Chief Executive Officer, emphasized the significance of the agreement and the fact that the two organisations are already enjoying a successful partnership.
Maswana added that it would be important to look at biodiversity conservation beyond the boundaries of parks and reserves in the future.
The partnership between the two organisations will cater for co-operation on various issues and projects including the translocation of wildlife, collaboration between specialized personnel such as veterinarians, eradication of invasive species and developing a common strategy towards 2010. The exchange of information will be promoted and strategies shared in terms of benchmarking and best practices. Biodiversity monitoring systems will be integrated and combined marketing and tourism initiatives developed.
The agreement was signed at Intsomi Forest Lodge in the Addo Elephant National Park, a park making a significant contribution to the local economy.
Addo Elephant National Parkâ€™s Manager, Norman Johnson, highlighted the socio-economic impact of the Park which currently attracts over 170 000 visitors a year. Over R143 million has been spent to date on poverty relief projects in the Park, with a further 51.9 million committed to these projects by 2010.
The Park has employed 53 SMMEs with 769 workers from local communities within these projects.
SANParks manages 22 national parks across the country of which four â€“ Addo Elephant, Mountain Zebra, Camdeboo and Tsitsikamma National Parks â€“ are situated in the Eastern Cape.
Eastern Cape Parks manages 21 nature reserves in the Eastern Cape region.
Megan Taplin (Bradfield)
Regional Communications Manager
SANParks Tel: 042 2338609 or 083 6508649
Eastern Cape Parks
Tel: 082 3318365
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