AFRICA: African Parks secures $108m to manage its national parks

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AFRICA: African Parks secures $108m to manage its national parks © African Parks

The international conservation organisation African Parks has been awarded $108 million in funding to manage its national parks in Africa. The funds are provided by the Washington-based Wyss Foundation in the United States of America.

Good news for African Parks. The nature conservation organisation has been awarded a $108 million grant for its activities. This is a record amount of funding for nature conservation in Africa. The grant, which will be spread over five years, comes from the Wyss Foundation, an organisation founded by philanthropist Hansjörg Wyss that funds conservation, environmental journalism, education, museums and progressive policy advocacy.

The funding to African Parks will support up to half the annual budgets of nine existing parks currently under its management in Angola, Benin, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. The grant will also support the addition of five new parks (yet to be identified) and up to two-thirds of their annual budgets. However, according to African Parks, the grant for these new parks will be matched by a requirement to encourage donors to provide the necessary stability to these reserves.

Supporting biodiversity conservation goals

“Multiple and cumulative threats, including deforestation, illegal mining, poaching and wildlife trafficking, have put Africa’s lands, waters and wildlife, some of the most impressive on the planet, at risk. Only by working with governments and local people can we protect natural areas for the benefit of people and wildlife on the African continent,” says Hansjörg Wyss, founder and chairman of the Wyss Foundation.

Read also- Five key players commit to biodiversity in Africa

Its funding is allocated within the framework of the Wyss Campaign for Nature. The aim of this initiative is to allocate 1 billion dollars for nature conservation worldwide by 2030, while supporting indigenous peoples living near biodiversity reserves. The Wyss Campaign for Nature also benefited Matusadona National Park (Zimbabwe), which received $1.5 million to support biodiversity conservation efforts. For African Parks, the grant it has just received addresses a critical need for long-term, sustainable, multi-year funding, providing essential support to a park’s operating budget, which can vary between $1.5 and $4 million per year.

For the record, the Johannesburg (South Africa) based organisation is the delegated manager of 15 national parks on the continent. In West Africa, African Parks has obtained the delegated management of the Pendjari and W national parks in Benin. In Central Africa, the NGO organises the protection of Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Iona National Park in Angola, Odzala-Kokoua National Park in Congo, Ennedi National Park, Siniaka Minia National Park, Zakouma National Park in Chad, as well as the Chinko National Park in the Central African Republic (CAR) Akagera and Nyungwe National Parks in Rwanda, Bangleulu and Liuwa Plain in Zambia. Lilongwe, Majete, Mangochi and Nkhotakota in Malawi are also under the protection of Africa Parks.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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