World Parks Congress 2003: briefing


08 April 2003
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

8 April 2003

Chairperson: Mr Arendse (ANC)

World Parks Congress 2003
Cartagena biosafety protocol
List of proposed members for the board of South African National Parks

The Department briefed the Committee on the Cartagena history of the protocol, its objectives, and the implications of South Africa's accession to the protocol. The committee agreed to accede to the protocol.

Plans were presented for the World Parks Congress 2003. The theme of the congress would be 'Benefits Beyond Boundaries'.

The committee approved the list of proposed members of the board of SANPARKS, but were unhappy with the procedure that had been followed.

The Chairperson, Mr Arendse (ANC) stated that the committee had received extensive briefings on the protocol in February 2003. The implementation of the protocol had been delayed but was now ready to be implemented.

Ms Mbengashe, Chief Director, Biodiversity & Heritage, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism presented the contents of the protocol to get the approval of the committee for its implementation. She briefly summarised the history of the protocol, its objectives, and the implications of South Africa's accession to the protocol. The Committee agreed to the Protocol.

Please refer to attached presentation.

Prof Mbadi (ANC) asked why South Africa failed to sign ratification in June 2001. Ms Mbengashe replied that the institutional arrangements and implementation plan were not in place at that time.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) asked for clarity on the difference between a 'living modified organism' and a 'genetically modified organism'.

Ms Mbengashe stated that they were almost the same.

Ms Chalmers asked what happened in February 1999 when international negotiations were derailed.

Ms Mbengashe replied that there were two different camps but this has now been sorted out.

Mr Mbadi moved to accept accession, and this was seconded by Mr Moss. The committee recommended that the house approve the set protocol.

Mr Mavuso Msimang, CEO, SANPARKS presented plans for the World Parks Congress from the 8-17 September 2003. The theme of the congress is 'Benefits Beyond Boundaries' and Mr Msimang briefly ran through some of the topics that would be covered in the congress. He described their fund raising efforts, the process of choosing participants, and the activities that would occur.

Please see attached presentation for more details.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) asked if the congress would be broadcasted live, as the World Summit was.

Ms Msimang stated that he was not sure whether the SABC would give live broadcasts. He said that they do plan to give the SABC broadcasting privileges so as to ensure that there was as much coverage as possible.

Mr Le Roux (DA) asked how many of the 2500 delegates would be from South Africa. What did delegates get for their registration cost of $370?

Mr Msimang replied that 225 of the 2500 delegates would be South African, and that the registration fee was determined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). It was supposed to cover items such as field trips and refreshments. The planning group wanted as many people as possible to pay. Exceptions were difficult to manage.

Mr Moorcroft asked if there were any particular issues that South Africa w be pushing at the congress.

Mr Msimang replied that key issues needed to be channelled through the workshop themes. He felt South Africa should raise contentious issues such as concessions, community involvement in parks, and public participation. The management of parks and involvement of society, the rights of indigenous people, financing, and trans-frontier conservation was likely to feature. Specialised pressure groups might protest about under-representation of indigenous communities.

Prof Mbadi asked what spin offs from the congress might be expected for poor communities.

Mr Msimang replied that the planning group would try to ensure that previously disadvantaged people were given the opportunity to provide any services required by the congress. There would be an exhibition area were communities could display their crafts.

Mr Moorcroft mentioned that Animal Rights Activists were likely to be among the pressure groups involved. Would this be problematic?

Mr Msimang agreed that you could not exclude the possibility of demonstrators. However, all discussions would be very structured. He did not think South Africa would be in an embarrassing position as regards culling. The movement of animals into trans-frontier parks had made this unnecessary in recent years.

Ms Chalmers stated that the programme looked very exciting, but that limited numbers of people would benefit. Was there any move on the part of the organisers to make the material accessible to a broader range of people, or translated into other languages.

Mr Msimang replied that he thought this was a good idea. He would try to see whether it was possible.

Ms Ramotsamai (ANC) asked whether the organisers were learning from the lessons of the World Summit.

Mr Msimang said that they were indeed learning from the experience of the World Summit but that this was on a smaller scale.

Ms Mbuyasi asked about equipment such as conference bags. Was there any attempt to source materials and skills from disadvantaged people/areas.
Mr Msimang replied that they were making a special effort to see that the congress of conservationists does not end up abusing and wasting resources.

Mr Arendse mentioned that a workshop on GMO's had been planned at Elsenberg from the 14-15 April 2003. Members would receive a document about GMO's to inform them issues.


Mr Arendse had circulated the list at the beginning of the meeting so that all members had a chance to read it and discuss it among their parties. The list had been approved by cabinet. The legislation under which this list had been devised was old, and would be looked at again in the Protected Areas Bill.

Mr Moorcroft (DA) stated that the DA was uncomfortable with the process. When the committee was presented with a list of eighteen names and required to approve a list of eighteen names, it felt like rubber stamping. It was unfair to expect the committee members to make a decision when they had limited information. For this reason he stated that the DA would abstain from voting on this matter.

Mr September (ANC) said that no one was happy with the process, but that the chair had stated that the matter would be dealt with in the Protected Areas Bill. They should not delay the process at this stage in this instance.

Mr Kalako (ANC) stated that if the minister wanted the involvement of the committee in the choice, then the committee should follow the process through, and be well informed.

Mr Le Roux emphasised that the DA had no desire to delay the process, but reiterated that they had no information with which to make this decision.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) suggested that the committee approved this list, but added a strong comment that they would appreciate participation in the process for the reasons stated above.

Ms Mbuyasi (IFP) stated that the IFP agreed with the sentiments expressed by the other members.

Ms Mbuyasi and Prof Mbadi moved and supported a proposal to accept the list. The list was therefore approved by the committee.

Mr Francois Rogers, Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism apologised on behalf of the minister if it appeared to be a request for a rubber stamp. He stated that the minister did not wish to exclude any one from the process.

The meeting was adjourned.


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