Prince Harry, the duke of Sussex joined African Parks to mark Earth Day and issued a strong message on the importance of conservation. Harry, who is the president of African Parks since 2017, highlighted the importance of national parks and protected areas in delivering essential services like clean water and air, food security, carbon control, among others.
“As we now begin to move towards an era of global recovery and regeneration, it’s critical that we begin to look at the strengthening and protecting of biodiversity, not just as value we hold, but as a responsibility that is vital to our way of life,” said the Prince.
The Prince also applauded the efforts of other conservationists including his late grandfather, the late Philip, Duke of Edinburgh who passed on early this month at the age of 99.
“On this Earth Day, I reflect on generations of conservation champions, including my late grandfather, and feel proud and energized to continue doing my part in this legacy. This year especially, I join the incredible African Parks team and communities around the world in shared dedication to our environment and collective wellbeing.” he added.
African Parks, a non-profit conservation organization manages 19 national parks in 11 countries on behalf of governments and communities across the continent. The countries include Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Chad, among others. Since 2000 the organization has been running an effective public-private partnership model with governments and communities to manage protected areas. Today, nearly 15 million hectares across the continent are under the care of African Parks and it’s the largest amount of area being conserved by any NGO on the continent.
While marking Earth Day, the organization once again stressed the benefits that have resulted from taking up such a move which aimed at addressing challenges faced by protected areas in Africa.
“While we created African Parks 20 years ago to address the challenges of failing protected areas in Africa, today we see these effectively managed landscapes helping to address some of the most pressing challenges of our times, including climate change, pandemics, security and human wellbeing,” said Peter Fearnhead, CEO of African Parks.
“Alongside the dedication and commitment of Prince Harry, and with our transformational funders and all our government partners, we are realizing the value of these wild areas by ensuring that the people who live within or around them truly benefit from them being conserved. It is a sure way forward in helping to create a sustainable future for local communities, and our planet.” he added.
Price Harry’s relationship with African Parks
The Duke of Sussex has worked with the organization since 2016, and he was instrumental in helping them to complete their historic translocation of 500 elephants in Malawi. He is currently assisting the organization to increase the number of national parks under its management to 30 by the year 2030.
Watch “Hope Starts Here,” a special release video of African Parks where Prince Harry highlights the importance of protected areas in delivering essential environmental services.
National parks currently managed by African Parks
Here is the list of the 19 national parks currently managed by African Parks in collaboration with governments and communities;
Akagera national park – Rwanda
Bangweulu national park – Zambia
Bazaruto national park – Mozambique
Chinko national park – Central African Republic
Ennedi national park – Chad
Garamba national park – Democratic Republic of Congo
Iona national park – Angola
Liuwa Plain national park – Zambia
Liwonde national park – Malawi
Majete national park – Malawi
Mangochi national park – Malawi
Matusadona national park – Zimbabwe
Nkhotakota national park – Malawi
Nyungwe forest national park – Rwanda
Odzala-Kokoua national park – Congo
Pendjari national park – Benin
Siniaka Minia national park – Chad
W national park – Benin
Zakouma national park – Chad