Technical assistance for the management of iSimangaliso Wetland Park (South Africa) and Maloti-Drakensberg Park (Lesotho)
The rationale of this project was to provide technical assistance through an advisory mission for the development of management mechanisms and tourism management for two recently inscribed sites, one natural and one mixed site.
Following the presentation of the France-UNESCO Cooperation Agreement at the 24th session of the World Heritage Committee (Cairns, 2000), the South African authorities, eager to address management issues on the sites following inscription, requested French expertise for the establishment of a management plan and sustainable tourism plan for the sites of iSimangaliso Wetland Park (initially inscribed in 1999 as Greater St Lucia Wetland Park) and Maloti-Drakensberg Park (at the time, listed as Drakensberg Park in 2000), South Africa.
Two French experts (seconded by the French Ministry of Ecology and the French Ministry of Culture) with complementary skills in the field of management of cultural properties and in the field of tourism management in protected areas, undertook a mission from 5 to 18 May 2002. The field visit included in-depth analysis combined with on-site meetings with local managers and partners and debriefing and discussion sessions. The schedule, organized by the staff of the KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Conservation Service (KZN), enabled the experts to be as productive as possible in a short period.
This one time technical assistance mission focused on several key points: evaluation of the implementation of the St. Lucia World Heritage natural site management plan and possible modifications, examination of problems arising from adoption of a plan incorporating both public and private properties. The experts provided the authorities with recommendations for site development based on integrated site management; recommendation for a human resource management training programme; recommendation for a natural resource management training programme (with modules on the information for, and involvement of, the local community, tourist information, site development through organization of events, etc.)
In 2013, the extension of Maloti-Drakensberg Park was approved, and in 2008 Greater St Lucia Wetland Park became iSimangaliso Wetland Park.