- The completion of relevant registration processes.
The preparation and establishment of the International Alliance of Protected Areas (IAPA) has been hugely supported by the State Forestry Bureau, Chinese Academy of Sciences, conservation organization both domestic and overseas. Especially via guidance and support from the International Society of Zoological Sciences (ISZS), IAPA is now affiliated with ISZS and has become legally establishing in China. This ensures activities held by the Secretariat in order to promote international communication.
ISZS has also established the Protected Area Working Group to help IAPA on membership development, assist its forum and General Assembly, organize theme reports and communication, develop and maintain a website and data management system, edit and distribute Newsletter (twice a year), promote IAPA, and carry out relevant research cooperation and training.
- The growth of IAPA regarding both scale and influence.
Since the beginning of the IAPA, 45 PAs have registered as members, including 34 PAs in China and 11 from other countries. Ten international conservation organizations have registered as observers. Among these, 8 members and 5 observers joined after the General Assembly (GA) at Shennongjia National Nature Reserve.
- Implementation of workplan 2015/2016 set during the last GA.
During the past year, through common efforts by the IAPA Executive Committee and Secretariat, six key tasks have been completed properly, including the compilation of member guidelines, regulations on IAPA members, the revision of IAPA Bylaws, the establishment of the IAPA official website (www.IAPA.pub, figure 1) which showcases international conservation activities and work progresses of IAPA members, the design of IAPA logo (figure 2). The logo is blue and green, which represent land and ocean PAs, and also plants and marine life. The various animals on the logo indicate that PAs are the homeland for wildlife.
Meanwhile, we carefully chose experiences of IAPA members and global PAs. Also, on September 27, IAPA members and observers are going to discuss and learn on issues regarding staff structure and competence standards of protected areas and the finance strategy of protected areas.
4, International exchange activities
During October 2015 and July 2016, IAPA member Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve went to Kruger National Park twice to exchange. Between 20 and 23 October 2015 and an “Announcement of Cooperation” was signed. A group from Shennongjia National Nature Reserve also visited KNP between 10 and 12 July 2016. I was able to have very fruitful discussions and field visits with both groups from these beautiful Chinese nature reserves.
Over and above these groups a delegation from China led by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Chen visited the KNP. They form part of the China-South Africa Youth Volunteers Programme in Wildlife Conservation.
In our discussions and field trips we discussed the key biodiversity conservation and management issues related to the KNP. These include conservation management issues such as:
- Environmental crime,
- Veld fire management and veld burning program;
- Alien biota control (including Working for Water, a job creation initiative to eradicate alien plants);
- Ecological restoration (wetlands and erosion control);
- River and Water in the Landscape management;
- Buffer zone and contractual park issues (including GL TFCA);
- Damage Causing and Problem Animals;
- Wildlife products management including rhino horn, ivory, meat, hides and skins, as well as sustainable resource use of natural materials;
- Environmental Management issues (impact assessments for developments close toe the KNP boundary and within, environmental auditing);
- Environmental Interpretation;
- Tourism, etc.
This initiative has the potential to create strong ties between the KNP, Tangjiahe NR and other protected areas in China and South Africa. It is recommended that a more structured approach is followed in the future to benefit both countries.