Table Mountain National Park, SANParks to receive share of R30m in French funding

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The Parasol Lily growing around Table Mountain National Park.
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 Reunion Island.
  • The Table Mountain National Park will be the leading South African nature reserve in the project.

A multi-country agreement is set to give biodiversity in South Africa a boost. Around R30 million in French funding has been made available to enable a partnership between South African and Réunion Island national parks.

On Sunday, South African National Parks (SANParks) signed an agreement with Agence Française de Développement (AFD). The agreement will see funding allocated to support sharing experiences between the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) and the Réunion Island National Park (PNR) to preserve the biodiversity of both countries.

The partnership was initially agreed to in 2019. It will lead to €1.85 million (R31 million) in financial support from AFD, of which €1.2 million (R20 million) will be awarded to SANParks.

Aurélien Lechevallier, French ambassador to South Africa, said:

Biodiversity conservation 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 territory-to-territory cooperation between the two parks. The PNR, a French public institution, was created in 2007. Its territory covers 70% of the island's surface area, with a central zone that houses 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 acting CEO Dr Luthando Dziba said.

Dziba said:

Both parks are located in urban environments, which stretch from the mountain to the sea, with a presence of invasive and vulnerable species, and high numbers of tourists. Both SANParks and PNR will contribute expertise and collaborate on improving park management. In addition, the project will mobilise partner research bodies, including the University of Réunion, Cirad (the French Agricultural Research Centre 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 capacity by exchanging experiences around park management. The expected project impacts include strengthening know-how and skills for the biological control of invasive alien species, anti-poaching and the analysis of risks.

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