Table Mountain National Park and SANParks to receive R30 million share of French funding
The Parasol Lily growing around Table Mountain National Park.
PHOTO: SANPark Rangers via Netwerk24
- SANParks will receive around R20 million in French funding.
- The funds are part of a knowledge-sharing partnership with Réunion.
- Table Mountain National Park will be the main South African nature reserve for the project.
A multi-country deal is expected to boost biodiversity in South Africa. French funding of around R30 million has been made available to enable a partnership between South African and Reunion national parks.
On Sunday, South African national parks (SANParks) signed an agreement with the French Development Agency (AFD). The agreement will see funds allocated to support the sharing of experiences between the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the Réunion National Park (PNR) to preserve the biodiversity of the two countries.
The partnership was initially concluded in 2019. It will result in financial support from AFD of 1.85 million euros (31 million rand), of which 1.2 million euros (20 million rand) will be attributed to SANParks.
Aurélien Lechevallier, French Ambassador to South Africa, said:
The conservation of biodiversity is one of France’s priorities. France will host the World Conservation Congress in 2021. Through this exemplary regional cooperation project, France is providing concrete support for the preservation of biodiversity in southern Africa and the Indian Ocean.
The project focuses on the territory-to-territory cooperation between the two parks. The PNR, a French public establishment, was created in 2007. Its territory covers 70% of the island’s surface area, with a central area sheltering 94% of the island’s endemic biodiversity. The park attracts around 1 million visitors per year.
The two parks face similar challenges in managing and conserving fragile ecosystems, SANParks interim CEO Dr Luthando Dziba said.
Both parks are located in urban environments, which stretch from mountain to sea, with the presence of invasive and vulnerable species and high numbers of tourists. SANParks and PNR will provide their expertise and work together to improve the management of the park. In addition, the project will mobilize partner research organizations, including the University of Reunion, CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Center for International Development) and the University of Cape Town.
According to Dziba, this project will allow the teams of the two parks to strengthen their capacities by exchanging experiences around the management of the parks. The expected impacts of the project include the strengthening of know-how and skills for the biological control of invasive alien species, the fight against poaching and risk analysis.