African Leaders Call for Conservation That Benefits the Poor

Former South African President Nelson Mandela, current President Thabo Mbeki, Queen Noor of Jordan, and a host of other luminaries today called on conservationists to ensure that their efforts benefit the world’s poor. Speaking at the opening of the 10-day World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa, Mbeki said, “It is critically important that alternative means of livelihood be found for the poor in the world, so that they are not forced to act in a manner that undermines the global effort to protect these ecosystems, driven by hunger and underdevelopment.” Some 2,500 delegates from more than 170 nations are assembled at the conference, which aims to take stock of the world’s 44,000 protected areas and establish priorities to preserve them. The agenda includes discussions on how conservation can be used to boost tourism and help the economies of developing nations.