Johannesburg, South Africa: In this super year for biodiversity, the International Cooperation Centre of National Forestry and Grassland Administration, China (NFGA) and African Parks, a conservation non-profit organisation, have agreed to lay a foundation for promoting long-term cooperation to help advance wildlife conservation in Africa and in China.
The Memorandum of Cooperation, preliminarily signed on Monday February 10th, seeks to facilitate high-level visits to parks in China and those managed by African Parks in Africa; to help elicit project funding support for African Parks and to encourage tourism to the parks; to promote exchanges of knowledge and expertise on protected area management; to explore establishing ground-level partnerships between protected areas managed by African Parks and protected areas in China; and to facilitate mutual technical support. The Memorandum also seeks to promote the role of protected areas in achieving the UN 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
"The initial signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation has set up a platform for communication between China and African countries and serves as a channel for strengthening and reinforcing collaboration in the fields of protected area management and wildlife conservation” said Dr. Meng Xianlin, Director General of NFGA’s Department of International Cooperation and International Cooperation Centre, “The partnership plays an important role in improving nature conservation through mutual learning and information-sharing. Moreover, such partnership enriches the practice of collaboration between government institutions and international non-profit conservation organizations. In accordance with the MoC, together with African Parks, we will endeavour to make achievements by collaborating with African countries in the field of protected areas ".
Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks said “We are extremely pleased to be embarking on a unique cooperation with China, which will help to advance international cross-sector collaboration to address biodiversity loss, ecosystems degradation, and climate change mitigation, bringing protected areas into focus as essential components to a healthy planet.” He continued, “This is an important opportunity to share 20 years of experience in partnering with Governments and communities across Africa to effectively manage and resource parks so that wildlife, people and national economies can benefit sustainably from functioning landscapes”.
The Memorandum of Cooperation was to be signed by a high-level delegation from China led by the Administrator of the NFGA and African Parks in Johannesburg on February 10th. However, the event was deferred due to the outbreak of coronavirus and a preliminary signing was conducted instead by Mr. Wang Chunfeng of NFGA’s International Cooperation Centre and Mr. John Scanlon AO of African Parks, expressing our solidarity in fighting the novel coronavirus and support for the temporary ban on all wildlife trade in China, as well as our commitment even under the current epidemic situation in China. The final signing will take place in Johannesburg on a date to be agreed.
“The Global Biodiversity Framework 2020-2030, to be adopted in Kunming in October this year, will need to be implemented on-the-ground. Well-managed protected areas are central to success and China and African Parks will now share best practices on managing and financing these areas. By protecting wildlife at source, we stop it entering the illegal trade, secure the carbon, enable tourism and facilitate local enterprise, which generates decent jobs and benefits for local people” said John E. Scanlon AO, Special Envoy with African Parks, who led the development of the agreement.
China is in the process of establishing 10 national parks across 12 provinces. In December 2019 John Scanlon and Dr. Meng Xianlin visited the Giant Panda National Park in Sichuan Province to discuss with park managers and rangers how to advance wildlife protection at source. African Parks manages 17 protected areas in 11 countries spanning 13 million hectares, constituting the largest and most ecologically diverse portfolio of parks under management by any one organisation in Africa.
As part of the cooperation in this special year for biodiversity, African Parks has also agreed to support, as may be relevant, activities and initiatives leading up to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP15) which China will host in October 2020.
About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. With the largest counter-poaching force and the most amount of area under protection for any one NGO in Africa, African Parks manages 17 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 13 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For more information visit www.africanparks.org, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
About the International Cooperation Center (ICC) of the National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA): The ICC is a Chinese public and non-profit institution directly subordinate to NFGA. ICC is engaged in policy research, international cooperation and exchange, planning and consulting, partnership creation with relevant international NGOs, foreign services and training. ICC is exploring multi-dimensional and in-depth modes of international cooperation and exchange to contribute to global ecosystem conservation.