Improving Management Effectiveness of the Protected Area Network

Brief Description

The project seeks to expand representation of globally important terrestrial habitats by establishing new PAs covering 197,000 ha. The current Protected Area estate does not effectively represent the full range of globally important species and habitats in the three biodiversity hotspots in South Africa (Succulent KarooCape Floral Kingdom and Maputaland Pondoland Albany Hotspot); and as a result, key critical biodiversity areas within these remain under protected and are at risk of loss or degradation of habitat from several factors. Traditional PA expansion through land purchase is no longer cost effective given the shrinking budgets of conservation agencies. Hence, the project focuses on using low cost mechanisms for land acquisition and management in order to rapidly expand the PA network to secure globally important biodiversity. The project utilizes contractual and stewardship arrangements with private and communal landowners, as well as transfers and formalization of conservation tenure of state land to rapidly expand the PA network. This is done both at a site level, and also across the PA network. A major focus is ensuring appropriate, cost-effective and efficient co-management of the low cost PA expansion areas, as well as ensuring these areas are fully integrated into the state PA network.

The project also seeks to ensure that the current protected area estate is effectively managed in order not to reverse current conservation gains. Management effectiveness will be increased on 1,100,000 ha through integrated management planning, monitoring, evaluation and improved PA buffer zone interventions. Last but not least, the project seeks to ensure financial sustainability of the PA estatethrough reducing costs of expansion, improving cost efficiencies within PA management agencies, including improving the resilience of existing income streams, financial governance, and strengthening benefit-sharing arrangements.

Project Rationale

GEF V Biodiversity

Focal Area Objective: Improve Sustainability of Protected Area Systems

This project has been designed with a comprehensive combination of interventions at three scales: national PA system, agency, and site