BY GILBERT KOECH
KENYA is among eight countries globally whose wildlife protected areas have been bestowed with the first Green List honour by the the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
The Lewa conservancy and Ol Pejeta have been green listed by the union,emerging the only conservancies in Africa to be listed.
The announcement was made at the IUCN World Parks Congress 2014 in Sydney, Australia.
The IUCN Green List of Protected Areas is the only global standard of good practice for protected areas which aims to recognise and promote success in managing some of the most valuable natural areas on the planet.
The first 23 successful sites have been selected among 50 candidates put forward by the eight countries as part of the first phase of the Green List.
The sites have been evaluated against a set of criteria, including the quality of protection of natural values.
They should demonstrate fair and transparent sharing of the costs and benefits of conservation, effective management and long-lasting conservation outcomes.
The criteria are tailored and measured according to the challenges and opportunities faced in each country.
Australia, South Korea, China, Italy, France, Spain, and Colombia are other countries, whose protected areas are the first to be listed on the IUCN Green List of Protected Areas.
Ol Pejeta Conservancy allows pastoral ranching within the protected area providing monitoring, protection and livestock health services.
This ensures protection for both wildlife and cattle and provides a safe haven and rich pastures for local herders.
Lewa Conservancy has developed programmes that have transformed lives of thousands in the communities.
It currently supports 20 schools, 10 water projects, four clinics, a women’s micro-credit programme and many other community projects, improving the quality of life of many.
The IUCN Green List standard will bring international recognition to the listed sites and increased political support as well as improving the quality of tourism within the sites.
The Standard will evolve to keep pace with global best practice and new challenges facing protected areas. Listed sites commit to continuously improve to maintain compliance with the Standard.
Courtesy of the-star.co.ke