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World Parks Congress to Outline 10-Year Conservation Plan

The World Parks Congress has opened in Durban to outline a 10-year conservation plan. Some 2,500 delegates from across the world will decide on the so-called Durban Accord and Action Plan, an agenda for the future of protected areas or parks and their management over the next 10 years and beyond.

The delegates will also review 30 separate recommendations on issues as local as the relationship of parks and adjacent communities or as global as climate change.

William Eichbaum of the World Wildlife Fund, or WWF, says delegates must develop frameworks for the development and management of parks to ensure that they do not disrupt the lives and livelihood of local communities. Beyond that, Mr. Eichbaum told VOA, parks must offer economic advancement to local communities. "In some situations there are opportunities to return some of the fees that are charged to the public as they enter a park back to local communities so that they can actually improve their well-being and so that they can participate in some of the larger wildlife management activities," he said.

Delegates will also be considering the impact of climate change on parks and the preservation of biodiversity. Also on the agenda in Durban is the development of plans to improve the knowledge of little known areas, such as the marine environment, and how to ensure funding for protected areas.