Management of national parks requires local participation – Expert

elephantsA natural conservation manager has advocated the need for countries keeping national parks and conservation to include indigenous land owners of the areas in their management.

Mr Steve Winderlich, Manager of the Natural and Cultural Programmes at the Kakadu National Park in Australia, explained the ideas that would come from both the managers and the local people would ensure the sustainability of the parks.

He said such a management approach was one of the best means to generate more revenue and protect the resources and its biodiversity from activities such as illegal lumbering, wild fire, mining and encroachment.

Mr Winderlich said this at a meeting with land and sea managers, journalists as well as rangers from selected African countries to share ideas and experiences on ecosystems management and sustainable livelihoods in Kakadu, a town in Darwin, the Capital of the Northern Territory of Australia.

The meeting formed part of activities for the first-ever World Indigenous Network (WIN) Conference scheduled for 26 to 31 May this year.

WIN is a group of countries seeking to conserve biodiversity, improve social cohesion, increase economic opportunities and alleviate poverty.

Mr Winderlich said ensuring sustainability of the parks also demanded governments to take steps to elicit ideas to be fused with innovation to preserve the cultural and ancestral heritage of the indigenes.

Sharing some of the experiences of the Kakadu Park, he said, about 26% of the revenue generated at the park was allocated to the local communities fund for development while government had made it a responsibility to build the capacity of the people on alternative livelihood initiatives such as weaving and painting.

“We organise mentorship programmes to build the capacity of the youth on research, natural resource management and range activities. About 50% of workers at the Park are indigenous people from the communities,” he said.

Mr Rayan Barruwei, Chairman of the Board of Management of the Kakadu National Park, said the communities had benefited greatly from the partnership with government in the area of infrastructural development.

He added through the participation of the management of the Park, government had allocated funds for the building of health centres in many of the communities while a scholarship scheme had been established for brilliant children.

Mr Manchn Wilson a Prosecution Officer from Kenya, who was sharing experiences from his country, said most national parks were managed by the government.

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.