Protected areas sometimes struggle with effective management plans, and tensions may arise between various stakeholders.
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South Africa’s Cape Floral Region (CFR) is one of the world’s great centres of terrestrial biodiversity. It is home to nearly 20% of Africa’s flora, while covering less than 0.5% of the continent’s area. The wetlands in this sensitive area face particular threats, including from development and agriculture, as the region is also home to farms growing around 95% of South Africa’s wine. On-farm conservation measures are therefore vital to protect the outstanding diversity, density and endemism of the biodiversity of the CFR.
Earth Skills Network (ESN) is a collaboration between Earthwatch, UNESCO, IUCN & businesses. It connects leaders from the business and conservation sector through mentoring & skill-sharing. Through ESN, Protected Areas (PAs) can access relevant skills within businesses & build constructive dialogue on the need to manage environmental impacts. Through ESN, businesses can identify solutions to pressures on natural resources & nurture sustainable business leadership.
UNDP is supporting the government of Comoros to establish an expanded and functional system of protected areas in three of the country’s islands: Grand Comoro, Moheli and Anjouan. All efforts go to creating national capacity to manage a system that both representative of the country’s biodiversity endowment and which has good prospects for a sustainable future. Comoros is a jewel in the Indian Ocean, when it comes to biodiversity, natural beauty and the uniqueness of its cultural expression.
The Government of Mauritius through the National Parks and Conservation Service (NPCS) of the Ministry of Agro-industry and Food Security is working with partners in the Government, NGO and private sector to expand protected area coverage and enhance PA management effectiveness under the UNDP-GEF Protected Area Network Expansion Project (the Mauritius PAN Project). One of the key elements of these efforts is the involvement of the private sector in protected area management.
To improve the long term conservation of biodiversity in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) regions by providing better, more relevant and more accessible information for protected areas management, setting up a network of regional BIOPAMA observatories, developing a Reference Information System to host and facilitate the exchange of data, and to provide the associated capacity building to contribute to, and effectively use, these tools.
Biodiversity offsets offer a promising option for promoting the conservation and sustainable management of natural ecosystems on an expanded scale. In an era of often flat--and sometimes declining--governmental support for conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets can provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding. This funding can come from public infrastructure accounts (such as for dams and roads) as well as from the private sector (including extractive industries).
To ensure the balance between development and conservation, government at national and local levels, businesses and local population must develop and implement suitable tools including policies, guidelines and plans. The development of these tools must be participatory for all stakeholders to own and use them efficiently. The value of PAs must be ascertained and incorporated into these tools in order to make wise trade-offs between conservation and development.
Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) was established in 1998 when land and resources were transferred from the City of Cape Town to SANParks. It is one of the world's most biodiverse and dramatically beautiful urban national parks, set entirely within a metropolitan Cape Town. The primary solution ensuring equitable access was the requirement in the founding agreements that the TMNP would forever be an “Open Access” national park. This came about through citizens insisting that most of the park remain free to the public, with only four sections where entrance fees are paid (Swanepoel 2013).
Many, if not most, extractive and industrial companies own portions of undisturbed or less disturbed landscapes which are not actively utilized for the company’s core business. By consolidating such areas, establishing their potential ecological contribution, initiating projects to improve the present ecological state and managing these lands as a protected area, such lands can contribute significantly to the sustainability profile of a company.