People and parks

The North West Province is blessed with incredible diversity reflected not only in our natural resources and biodiversity, but also with our cultural diversity. History shows us that people in this Province have been living in harmony with nature for centuries. Our forefathers relied on hunting and gathering natural resources for survival. It is our mission, as a Board to continue this custom of mutual harmony between people and nature by harnessing the spirit of our communities towards nature friendly conservation, thus ensuring the survival of protected areas in the North West.

The programme was born out of the World Parks Congress held in Durban in 2003 where The Department of Environmental Affairs organised for communities from the Richtersveld, Khomani San, Riemvasmaak, Makuleke areas and communities from iSimangaliso (then known as St Lucia) to meet at Cape Vidal. They represented the people who had been removed or directly threatened with removals from protected areas to make way for wildlife and conservation.

The congress highlighted the important role protected areas play in sustainable development, conservation and fighting poverty. It also highlighted the importance of involving local people as equal partners within the protected areas, which should include decision making, management and sharing of benefits. The World Parks Congress and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas at the Convention on Biodiversity Diversity (CBD) showed strong commitment of the international conservation communities and governments to protecting and upholding the rights of communities affected by conservation programmes.

Drawing from this, the North West Parks Board has established a robust People and Parks Programme, we have come a long way in identifying specific activities and processes that address issues at the interface between conservation and the communities living adjacent to the reserves. While we work to promote and protect our resources, we also highlight and implement the rights of communities affected by conservation processes.

Contact Diliza Mangali, at Tel: +27(0) 18 397 1500.