People and Parks Conference Under Way In Pretoria

By Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria – A National Co-management Framework and the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between government and SANParks will be some of the highlights on the agenda at the Fourth People and Parks Conference, expected to kick off on Sunday.

Water Affairs and Environmental Minister Buyelwa Sonjica is expected to unveil the National Co-Management Framework as well as address issues of transformation in the biodiversity and conservation sector during the conference in KwaZulu-Natal.

On Monday, Sonjica and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga will sign a Memorandum of Understanding in Parks with the CEO of SANParks, Dr David Mabunda and Pick ‘n Pay chairperson, Gareth Ackerman.

Her deputy, Rejoice Mabudafhasi is scheduled to speak on the significance of the People and Parks programme which aims to address issues at the interface between conservation and communities in particular the realisation of tangible benefits by communities who were previously displaced to pave way for the establishment of protected areas.

She will also launch a publication that documents the journey from the days when issues of land ownership clashed with efforts to conserve natural resources to an era when the country committed itself to protecting and upholding the rights of communities in the conservation of the rich natural and associated cultural heritage resources.

Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Gugile Nkwinti is also scheduled to address the gathering.

The conference will be convened under the People and Parks programme’s theme, “Conservation for the people with the People” will end on Wednesday. - BuaNews