An analysis of alternative funding strategies for protected area management : a case study of Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife

Dube, Thabiso B. (2011-03)

Thesis (MDF)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.


The proper management of protected areas is important for biodiversity conservation and continued flow of ecosystem services such as the building up of soil resources and the provision of clean water. Protected areas provide a means of livelihood for communities on the peripheries of these protected areas through conservation based development projects and create an opportunity for people to learn about the environment and wildlife. Protected areas are areas of land and/or sea especially dedicated to the protection and maintenance of biological diversity, and natural and associated cultural resources, and management through legal or other means (International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 1994). These are special places around the world that are managed for conservation purposes. Darey, (1998), recommends that protected areas should be planned and managed as a system, a shift from the previous mindset in which they were considered as separate entities. The role played by protected areas is vital and is recognized in most countries including 177 countries who are signatories to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD). The CBD caters for cooperation amongst its members by providing support for the financing of protected area systems. There exists, therefore a global mandate for and a specific responsibility to ensure that protected areas are adequately financed. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife is a statutory nature conservation body mandated with the protection of natural resources and management of biodiversity in the province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Biodiversity conservation needs to happen both inside and outside of state-controlled protected areas to create conservation corridors and buffer zones and also to prevent the environmental degradation taking place as a result of human population growth, habitat destruction, and unsustainable development. (Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 2005). The challenge facing Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in carrying out this mandate is the lack of adequate financial resources. The subsidy received is not sufficient to cover all the conservation initiatives that the entity would like to undertake and so the exploration of alternative financing initiatives is required. The aim of this paper is to explore and discuss alternative funding strategies that can be used by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife to supplement the subsidy received from government. These strategies will form a blueprint that protected area managers can use to source sustainable alternative funding that is reliable and environmentally friendly. This study was conducted at Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife’s head office, based at Queen Elizabeth Park in Pietermaritzburg. The research included input from the organization’s Hospitality Managers and Conservation Managers spread throughout the Province. A questionnaire was designed and circulated to draw responses from Executives and relevant Managers. Interviews to ascertain the organizations sources of funding and future sources were carried out. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife official documents such as annual reports, strategic documents and project plans were reviewed and interpreted. The report showed that 90percent of the organizations funding comes from government or state affiliated organizations. These sources are neither sufficient nor reliable. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife cannot plan adequately before establishing the annual subsidy it will receive from government – its primary funder (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, 2008). The research also showed that there are numerous strategies that the organization can implement to supplement its subsidy. These include the widespread implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) strategies and revenue maximization through improved customer service. Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife has a great potential to generate sufficient funds through its commercial services such as camping, accommodation, gates and boating services to name but a few. The challenge however is to develop an operational strategy that will be devoid of bureaucracy and promote business best practices and the formation of partnerships with the private sector and the communities in the form of Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s) and co-management agreements respectively.

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