James Mahlokwane, Pretoria News | October 29, 2019
PRETORIA: Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, officially opened the third annual Global Wildlife Programme (GWP) South Africa Conference in Pretoria.
The 2019 conference is taking place under the theme Investing in the Wildlife Economy for Livelihoods and Conservation and comprises technical discussions, interactive working groups and a field visit to the Kruger National Park.
The aim is to strengthen collaboration between government and partners to implement GWP projects, and to stimulate new thinking and opportunities for conservation and development.
It is hoped that the conference will increase awareness of experiences from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean on building and growing a wildlife-based economy, enhance the understanding of a range of projects participating in the GWP and share good practices in project design and implementation, and discuss opportunities to provide input into the Global Environment Fund’s project design activities.
Government focal points and project management units from the 29 GWP countries, implementing partners, NGO representatives and technical experts will attend the conference.
GWP is a Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded and World Bank Group-led $213 million program.
Since 2016, 19 projects have been implemented, using GEF-6 funding, under an integrated framework to support wildlife conservation and crime prevention for sustainable development. In June, 10 additional countries joined the programme.
GWP national projects invest in activities ranging from anti-poaching, community engagement, human-wildlife conflict (HWC) management, nature-based tourism, protected area management, integrated landscape management, anti-trafficking, and demand reduction.
A GWP Global Project, implemented by the World Bank in partnership with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), facilitates knowledge exchange, co-ordination, and collaboration across national projects and other stakeholders.
South Africa, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is implementing a $4.9 million GEF-6 project to strengthening institutions, information management and monitoring to reduce the rate of illegal wildlife trade in the country.
South Africa is also preparing a GEF-7 $13.4 million project, in collaboration with UNEP and the World Bank to promote the biodiversity economy and combat illegal wildlife trade (IWT).
The 2019 conference is a joint effort by the government of South Africa, World Bank, UNEP, and other GWP partners to promote knowledge sharing and collaboration amongst national projects.