|Comunity Park Community Statement|
Presented at the EqHow are representatives from the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTFP) Communities bringing their message to the World Parks Congress?
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Communities have just arrived in Durban from their 910km community cycle ride from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa through their Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park corridors. The regional cycling team comprised of 2 communities representatives from Mozambique, 2 from South Africa and 3 from Zimbabwe - 2 ladies and 5 men. The names of the cyclists are as follows: Gladman Chibememe (Team Leader), Josiah Sithole, Luster Rambau, Rui Filipe, Chenai Chibememe, Ellen Manganyi and Messiah Langa.
The purpose and goal of the cycle ride was to promote the awareness amongst policy makers of the need for communities settled around protected areas to actively participate in the conservation and sustainable utilization of biodiversity and genuinely share benefits from the utilization of biodiversity in and around protected areas.
The specific objectives of the ride were to:
The community cycle ride and associated post-WPC programme is the initiative of the Chibememe Community. It is essentially community based, driven and orientated.
1. Communities settled close to protected areas incur a lot of costs from the wildlife within protected areas:
These costs are incurred without real, meaningful and genuine benefits. 'We want more compensatory benefits to be realized now' said Gibson Maluleke of the Makuleke Community
2. Communities settled close to protected areas and transboundary initiatives demand that they need to speak from themselves. 'Why should others speak on our behalf when we are able to speak for ourselves? We want to establish a network, programme or a movement for affected communities which will help them air their views, concerns and interests at an national, regional and international level. The network will also facilitate information exchange among transboundary communities' said Gladman Chibememe, the Community Cyclist's team leader. The Transboundary and Protected Areas Rural Communities Network (TRANSPRORUCONET) should be essentially community based and driven.
3. Policy makers should enact laws and policies that promote community rights to access and benefit from biodiversity:
4. The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park communities are demanding that there be effective and full consultation of local and indigenous communities in the setting up and management of protected areas, for example the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Conservancies. There is need to involve communities in policy formulation and decision making vis a vis the setting up and management of protected areas.
5. We, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park communities support research initiatives that seek to develop our area but these research initiatives should be essentially participatory. Research should be community led and oriented.
6. Our Indigenous knowledge, innovations and practices should be recognized and respected. These should be promoted and used to compliment and supplement modern systems of biodiversity conservation and use.
We say NO to the marginalisation, trivialization and relegation of indigenous people and their culture.
7. Sustainable Livelihood Issues for communities settled close to transfrontier parks and protected areas should be taken seriously for Sustainable Development to be achieved.
8. There should be a clear and genuine capacity building programme for communities settled close to protected areas. The communities should be empowered to manage the development of their own activities and programmes. There is a need for transfer of technology, to benefit the communities.
9. Community based initiatives that seek to promote women and youth in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in and around protected areas should be encouraged and promoted.
10. We, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Communities, advocate that Sustainable Financial mechanisms should be established to support and promote park friendly sustainable tourism projects and initiatives.
The following questions have been asked by Communities that the Community Cycle Riders met on the way to the World Parks Congress in Durban:
Is the WPC going to be a mere talk show without real and concrete results on the ground?
For how long will the communities continue incurring costs without getting real, genuine and meaningful benefits ?
Setting up a national, regional and / or international network or movement for communities settled close to protected areas and transboundary initiatives.
We are calling upon policy makers, the park officials, government officials and other NGOs at the World Parks Congress to seriously consider the concerns and interests of these affected communities. Everyone here at the WPC has a responsibility to take action in order to achieve the realistic and sustainable management of protected areas. This is a statement from the Community Cyclists.
Stakeholders who supported the Community Ride included:
Africa 2000+ Network
For further information, please contact: