During the past three years, Timbavati Chairperson Wayne Jackaman, his Exco and management team, has spent hundreds of hours participating in the multi-stakeholder process that culminated in yesterday’s celebrated event: The signing of the GLFTCA Cooperative Agreement in Skukuza, Kruger National Park.
What is the Cooperative Agreement?
It is a landscape-level legal agreement amongst conservation entities (public and private) in the open Greater Kruger system. The agreement ensures that land in South Africa is protected in terms of the National Environmental Management Protected Areas Act (NEMPAA) and that robust governance structures are in place for effective protected area management across the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). In short, the Agreement ensures that national parks, nature reserves and protected environments follow common approaches towards managing nature, and the relationship between people and nature, in the Greater Kruger area.
Why do we need it?
The Agreement ensures a uniform framework for the protection, management and sharing of socio-economic benefits within our shared open system. It addresses a number of current and anticipated risks that everyone with a stake in conservation face (such as the persistence of rhino poaching). Through the Agreement, all stakeholders in the landscape now cooperate to address significant risks, to develop more opportunities and economic benefits for landowners, management authorities (such at Kruger National Park and Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency), and communities living within the GLTFCA.
What does it mean for the Timbavati?
According to Wayne Jackaman (Timbavati Chairperson), “The Agreement confirms what we in the Timbavati have believed for many years. Good governance is the key to sustainable protected area management. Through the Agreement, all of us sharing an invisible border within the open system get on the proverbial same page. We already see the implementation of best practices on many levels, whether it be the management of endangered species, the eradication of alien plants, maintaining fire breaks, preventing bush encroachment, enabling sustainable tourism or ensuring our neighbouring communities form part of the wildlife economy. We are here to conserve. We are here for society, for future generations.”
Edwin Pierce, Warden of Timbavati, says that as of yesterday, there is a clean sheet from which to build on. “It’s day zero. And we are all in this together. We have realised that all our blinkers must come off, and all signatories understand that we are connected in a system with many moving parts, where one will affect the other. This is a massive opportunity for integration and teamwork.”
Top image: Wayne Jackaman, TPNR Chairperson, pledging support for the Cooperative Agreement at the signing ceremony.