CapeNature announces ground-breaking policy

by CapeNature

CapeNature has finalised a ground-breaking new policy that will allow for the restricted consumptive use of species of wild flora in CapeNature-managed protected areas.

Dr. Razeena Omar, Chief Executive Officer, CapeNature says the institution is proud and happy about the work that has been done. “This policy – simply put – provides a framework which allows members of Natural Resource User Groups (NRUGs) access to CapeNature-managed protected areas to collect and use wild plants for medicinal and cultural purposes.

Omar says the new policy will do a lot to encourage and facilitate close cooperation and stakeholder participation in sustainable resource use management in the Western Cape.

CapeNature has a mandated responsibility to manage the natural resources of the Western Cape in a way that conserves and protects species, habitats and ecological processes. In a region with unique biological diversity, the entity recognises that many local communities and individuals rely on the surrounding indigenous wild flora for traditional, cultural and medicinal purposes, forming the basis of the CapeNature Consumptive Use of Wild Flora policy.

The organisation further recognises that the principle of consumptive use of wild flora as a biological resource from statutory protected areas is recognised by international and national legislative guidelines, as well as contained in national and local poverty alleviation and rural development targets and aims.

“The new policy has been formulated in conjunction with natural resource user groups and communities of practice who wish to harvest and use wild flora from CapeNature-managed protected areas for livelihood support,” Omar says.

Anton Bredell, the minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, says the rights and importance for some communities and natural resource users to have access to protected areas is addressed by the new policy. “We want to work with these communities and others including traditional healers who harvest from the veld to treat their people and this is why we have devised this policy. Naturally it will require strict adherence to set restrictions and regulations and permits will be needed, but at the end of the day, we know that by taking hands we will be better able to both protect and utilise our heritage sites together.”

The policy includes key objectives linked to the sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources in a manner that maintains populations and species over the long-term and ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.

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