Department Of Interior
|Department of the Secretary
Contact: Hugh Vickery
|For Immediate Release: Sept. 8, 2003
NPS Director Mainella Leads Interior Department DelegationTo Fifth World Parks Congress in South Africa
(DURBAN, South Africa) - National Park Service Director Fran Mainella will lead the Department of Interior's delegation to the Fifth World Parks Congress, which is bringing together 2,500 delegates from 170 nations to this South African city to build partnerships and share information to benefit the world's parks and other protected areas.
"With the world's oldest
national park system and the largest system of refuge lands dedicated
to fish and wildlife, the United States is a leader in creating and
conserving parks, refuges and other protected areas and has a great
deal of expertise to share with the rest of the world," Mainella
said. "At the same time, we have a great deal to learn from other
countries and look forward to working with them to promote healthy parks
and protected areas around the globe."
The theme of this congress,
which runs Sept. 8-17, is "Benefits Beyond Boundaries," focusing
on the development of stronger alliances between protected areas and
other parts of society and the global economy, such as the resource
and tourism sectors.
Delegates will also consider
current issues such as the effect of invasive species and climate change
on protected areas, the commercialization of these areas, and the rights
of indigenous peoples who live in and near them.
Because the conference is
being held in Durban, delegates will focus especially on increasing
support for protected areas in Africa and the central role that these
protected areas play in the livelihoods of the peoples of Africa. One
of the goals of the Congress is to leave behind a legacy for protected
areas within Africa.
Queen Noor of Jordan and
Nelson Mandela will welcome the delegates to South Africa at the opening
"The Congress provides
a one-of-a-kind opportunity to meet with our colleagues from countries
around the world and discuss solutions to common challenges," said
James Kurth, deputy chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National
Wildlife Refuge System, which is the largest system of lands in the
world dedicated to wildlife. "We not only learn from each other
but we build bridges and form partnerships that benefit all refuges,
parks, and protected areas."
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