Latest News3 June 2011
Payment for Ecosystems Services
As the TFCA spans the most important water catchment area for the people of Lesotho and South Africa, Peace Parks Foundation, in conjunction with a group of interested parties, in 2010 developed a vision and objective for a Payment for Ecosystem Services programme in the Upper Thukela catchment area. → read more…
On 11 June 2001 the governments of the Kingdom of Lesotho and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development Area, which covers about 13 000 km² and includes the uKhahlamba Drakensberg World Heritage Site.
The area has spectacular scenery and is an important centre of endemism for montane plant species. The mountains, with their highest peak Thaba Ntlenyana rising to 3 482m, are of exceptional beauty and are home to the world's greatest outdoor gallery, containing the largest and most concentrated group of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara. There are some 600 known sites containing between 35 - 40 000 individual images, which were painted by the San people over a period of at least 4 000 years. The area is furthermore the most important water catchment area for the people of Lesotho and South Africa.
An MoU towards the establishment of the Maloti-Drakensberg TFCA was signed on 11 June 2001 and Lesotho's Sehlabathebe National Park was proclaimed on 2 November 2001. The Foundation supported the development of Sehlabathebe's management and tourism plans, as well as infrastructural development, notably an entrance gate and arrival centre, to turn it into a major tourist attraction. The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Conservation and Development project was launched by the Ministers of the Environment and the World Bank, the implementing agency of the Global Environment Facility's (GEF) $15.24 million project. Management plans for the Lesotho component as well as the TFCA as a whole were completed in 2008. With GEF funding coming 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.
The Lesotho government is working towards having part of the Lesotho component of the TFCA, the Sehlabathebe National Park, declared a World Heritage Site, as well as promulgating a new national park to form part of the TFCA. Peace Parks Foundation is providing technical assistance with these processes.