1 Oct 2007
Three members of the South African Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas Working Group met with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and the Department of Science and Technology on Monday and Tuesday this week. Annetta Bok, =Khomani San member of the working group said the dialogue and had been interesting and positive. The delegates included Ms Bok from the =Khomani community who co-own part of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Mr Willem Damarah, a Nama leader whose people were expelled from Augrabies Falls National Park, and Griqua leader Mr Cecil LeFleur whose community has created a natural and cultural biosphere reserve in the Knersvlakte. Willem de Wet of the Nama community, who lease out the Richtersveld National Park was unable to attend the meeting in Pretoria.
Indigenous delegates met with Mrs Maria Mbengashe, national focal point for the Rio Conventions in DEAT and Ms Gaboile Tero, from the Directorate of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Department of Science and Technology. Ms Bok will join Mrs Mbengashe and Ms Tero in Montreal next week for the Convention on Biological Diversity's review of the working gorups on Access & Benefit Sharing and Article 8J on traditional knowledge.
The Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas Working Group was first created at the time of the IUCN 2003 World Parks Congress and recently revitalised to promote indigenous involvement in CBD implementation. Members expressed concern about the role of SA National Parks in consistently applying policy to involve indigenousand local peoples in conservation both within and around protected areas, and in helping communities protect and promote their traditional knowledge of biodiversity, as set out in the CBD and the Addis Ababa Guidelines and Principles for Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.