THIS ISSUE OF PARKS deals with the Durban+5 Meeting, held in Cape Town in April 2008.
This meeting brought together the world’s foremost leaders in protected areas to discuss progress in implementing the key recommendations from the landmark Vth IUCN World Parks Congress, held in Durban, South Africa in 2003.
World Parks Congresses have been held every 10 years since 1962 and provide the opportunity for the global community to reflect on achievements in relation to protected areas and to look to the future and identify priorities. The 2003 Congress looked beyond traditional approaches and boundaries, as reflected in the Congress Theme: “Protected Areas: Benefits beyond Boundaries”.
Congress Patrons – Former President Mr Nelson Mandela and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan – urged delegates to celebrate one of the most significant conservation achievements of the last century – the inclusion of more than 11% of the earth’s land surface in protected areas. However they also noted that many threats face these precious areas and urged all involved with protected areas to reach out – beyond their boundaries and constituencies – to engage the wider community. The Congress illustrated the message through an extraordinarily rich range of plenary sessions, workshop sessions, side events and exhibitions. A wide range of stakeholders, including indigenous peoples, youth and the private sector, were actively involved in all Congress sessions. The Congress also resulted in a number of key outputs, including the Durban Accord and Action Plan, a set of 32 Congress Recommendations, a series of initiatives for African protected areas and a Message to the Convention on Biological Diversity, which was instrumentalin the adoption of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas in 2004.
The 2008 review meeting in Cape Town provided an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved since the Durban World Parks Congress. The meeting was opened by the South Africa Minister for the Environment and Tourism, Minister van Schalkwyk who highlighted the many challenges facing protected areas which will require a radical shift to new and innovative approaches to protected areas, embraced in his concept of ‘Business Unusual’. Former IUCN President Valli Moosa, in his opening address stressed that the bond of humans with nature is fundamental and and has a central role to play in life on earth and should be promoted as the right thing to do.