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Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Area

Park Development

© Koos van der Lende
© Koos van der Lende
The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Project was initiated on 11 June 2001 with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa in the Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho. The Memorandum of Understanding, for the first time, allowed for the mutual management of nature conservation areas such as the Sehlabathebe National Park in Lesotho and the uKhahlamba Park in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.©
On 22 August 2003 the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development project in was launched in Mokhotlong, Lesotho by the Ministers of the Environment for Lesotho and South Africa. The World Bank is the implementing agency of the project, while the Global Environment Facility (GEF) has made funding to the value of $15,24 million available to the two governments. Overall policy and direction for this project is set by a joint steering committee and managed by the two countries' project coordination units based in Maseru and Pietermaritzburg respectively.
GEF funding came to an end in 2009. An exit strategy includes the continued functioning of the project coordination unit, the project coordination committee and the bilateral steering committee, with funding from mainly the Lesotho and South African governments. The 20-year strategic plan also includes the continued functioning of the government implementation agencies that were established during the first phase of the project. The Foundation is facilitating the processes necessary for the continuation of this transfrontier conservation and development initiative and was co-opted as a member of the project coordination and bilateral steering committees.
The project will preserve the globally important biodiversity of the entire region, which includes the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site in South Africa. It will also improve the livelihood of the communities living in the region by ensuring that they benefit from nature-based tourism.

On 22 June 2013 the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed Lesotho’s Sehlabathebe National Park as an extension to the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site in South Africa and it will now to be called the Maloti-Drakensberg Park.This is Lesotho's first World Heritage Site.It is a site of both cultural and natural value.
For more information on the project's implementation, visit this site.