Community Conservation

The primary objective of Ezemvelo's Community Conservation Programme is to contribute to the mission of the Nature Conservation Board, through working with communities to foster nature conservation value within a framework of a co - managed sustainable natural resource management. Secondary objectives are to develop processes for engagement with community stakeholders and to determine standards and performance measures to evaluate these programmes. 

Many communities are not aware of the interdependence of biodiversity and sustainable human development and that unsustainable land use threatens biodiversity. The Community Conservation Programme's role is to ensure that communities are aware of the important role conservation can play in the development of sustainable livelihoods. The direct interest which neighbouring communities have in the management of protected areas is facilitated by this programme. Partnerships and interactions are processes whereby communities of all descriptions engage with Ezemvelo in co-defining and realizing nature conservation value and opportunities through to protect biodiversity and ecological processes in the province, to regulate activities which impact upon biodiversity, and to facilitate the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity outside protected areas.

Communities should derive value from the conservation of biodiversity and from protected areas as a result of activities which take place within many contexts across the province, including visitors to protected areas, protected area neighbours, within conservation districts and among the staff of Ezemvelo. Care is exercised to ensure that partnerships should be centred on sustainable programs which promote developments that are culturally, economically, socially and ecologically viable. Take into account the unique perspectives and knowledge from communities which need to be incorporated into decision-making by Ezemvelo. Respond to the diverse community needs which can be enhanced by strategic partnerships with development and service agencies through consultative partnerships which are inclusive, transparent and accountable.
The Community Conservation Division within Ezemvelo undertakes to clarify nature conservation value within a framework of developing partnerships with diverse communities throughout the province, and maintain Community Conservation services. Establish and maintain participatory structures with staff, neighbours and user groups (For example: Local Boards; Liaison Forums and special interest group committees), and to participate in other community structures when requested and where this relates to biodiversity conservation. Promote sustainable natural resource management within, around and beyond protected areas. Facilitate and participate in local and regional community development based on nature conservation opportunities.

Develop biodiversity conservation programmes based on sustainable economic and social opportunities within, around and beyond protected areas. Engage in biodiversity education and awareness enhancing processes which foster nature conservation value amongst protected area visitors, neighbours, schools, local communities and other interest groups. Develop, foster and enable access to nature conservation-based entrepreneurial opportunities. Seek mutually beneficial solutions to any nature conservation/community conflict. Promote the development, understanding and acceptance of nature conservation legislation. Integrate community conservation programmes within protected areas, communal areas and conservation districts. Promote community conservation services with a competent, professional staff.