Item 1534 - Draft Address by Mr. Nelson Mandela on the Launch of the World Parks Congress

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ZA COM MR-S-1534


Draft Address by Mr. Nelson Mandela on the Launch of the World Parks Congress


  • 2002-09-02 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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Launch of the World Parks Congress

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  • English

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Thank you for your most gracious words. It is indeed a pleasure for me to be here with you all, to hear your enthusiasm and support for this vital cause, and to share it with you.
Your Majesty, you have so clearly identified the challenges: the need to deal with inequity and divisions, the need to fight against complacency and narrow viewpoints. And you have so aptly pointed to the solutions: we must break with traditional thinking, catalyze a new vision, and join hands in new partnerships.

I remember, just over four years ago, the happy occasion when we commemorated the centenary of our Kruger National Park. This great protected area is clearly one of South Africa's major assets. It should be a source of pride to all South Africans. Unfortunately a great many South Africans do not see it as such, and for very understandable reasons. It has its roots in the past, a history of being "set aside" by the privileged for the privileged.

Of course the Kruger National Park is not unique in this respect. Many of Africa's most beautiful protected areas have their origins in the colonial past, and have a legacy of being 'set aside', thus alienating local people who viewed them as meaningless or even costly.

In South Africa it is time to break with this legacy. Many of our protected areas have proved themselves to be vital sources economic development, bringing a wide variety of benefits to a broad spectrum of society. We are proud that some of our protected area agencies are able to generate a substantial proportion of their budgets through ecotourism and wise use of their natural resources.

To me, the key to a sustainable future for protected areas lies in the development of partnerships. It is only through alliances and partnerships that protected areas can be made relevant to the needs of society. Partnerships need to be created with neighbouring communities, with entrepreneurs in ecotourism and other businesses. We take particular pleasure and pride in the new international partnerships we are developing in southern Africa, partnerships between neighbouring states to create transboundary protected areas or 'peace parks'. However, although we have achieved much in breaking with the past, much still remains to be done. The formidable legacy of inequity remains, and we face many challenges. I have the feeling that right now there are great opportunities to win support for the development of protected areas in the southern African region. If these opportunities are taken wisely our protected area system will be secured as the pride and joy of all our people in perpetuity. I have no doubt that the World Parks Congress comes to South Africa at just the right time. The central theme of the Congress - "Benefits Beyond Boundaries" - rings with promise. We look forward with keen anticipation to September 2003, and to seeing the outputs of the Congress formulated in the Durban Accord.

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Acquisition method: Hardcopy ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation. Accessioned on 08/03/2010 by Zintle Bambata




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