Baie de Baly
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Montagne et Forêt d’Ambre
Madagascar National Parks
The conservation and the management of protected areas appear among the high priorities of Madagascar. Madagascar National Parks should carry out an important part of this environmental politics. The legal layouts that frame the activities of conservation in general and those, assigned to the Madagascar National Parks in particular, uplift the lasting and rational use of natural resources and the inclusion of the environmental dimension to an economic and social scale.
The legal setting
Among the African countries, Madagascar is the most committed country in environment conservation. Indeed, not only did the big island adhere to several international conventions, but also it made the ecology one of its leading programs. Thus, the protection of the environment constitutes an engagement 7 of the five-year Madagascar action plan (Map).
This engagement comes to reinforce the Malagasy declaration during the 5th world convention of the parks in Durban in 2003, where the Big island committed to triple the surface of its protected areas to reach at least 6 million of hectares, if they were 1,7 million of hectare. It is the famous "Vision of Durban" to which Madagascar National Parks contributes while creating new protected, navy and terrestrial areas. Thanks to this" Vision of Durban" that the 47th protected area of the national network has been inaugurated: the marine national park Sahamalaza, Radama islands, in the region of Analalava, to the Northwest of Madagascar. The creation of five new protected areas is under survey.
The Environmental action plan
In the beginning of the years 1990, Madagascar adopted and put on the rails the environmental action plan that is a new one, as much for the island as for the African region. This plan spreads within 15 years and each its three stages saw a contribution of Madagascar National Parks.
During the first phase, the environmental program 1 (PE1), Madagascar National Parks had the responsibility to coordinate the development of protected areas’ program. The direct management of these protected areas has been assigned to this national organism during the second phase, the PE2.
The third stage (PE3) of this environmental action plan that will end in 2009, is dedicated to promote ecotourism with a high quality. It should be done to cover at least the quarter of its operational expenditures. Some financially independent and perennial activities of conservation are today one of the big priorities of Madagascar National Parks.
The protected areas code
The code of the protected areas (COAP)is the legal setting that governs the management of protected areas in Madagascar. It confers to Madagascar National Parks the legal beacons and the means to act. This code stipulates that the management of protected areas consists of the biodiversity conservation and its valorization through the environmental education and ecotourism promotion.
Bold and strong in relation to these national engagements, Madagascar National Parks involves itself into the preservation of Malagasy mega diversity in protected areas.
The international conventions
Madagascar ratified several international conventions dedicated to protect the environment. So, in 1970, the Malagasy government ratified the African Convention concerning the conservation of nature and natural resources or the Convention of Algiers. This convention touched the regulation of fishing and hunting for a rational use of biodiversity. It was completed by arrangements of the Convention of Maputo, in 2003.
In 1975, Madagascar adhered to the Convention on international trade of threatened species of fauna and wild flora with extinction or the Convention CITES and ratified in 1995 the Convention on the biologic diversity. This latter encouraged the international community to be in charge of the natural resources’ management and conservation.
Three years later, in 1998, Madagascar signed the RAMSAR Convention, the Convention on Wetlands of International Leading, especially as Waterfowl Habitat. This protocol is dedicated to protect lakes and exceptional swamps as being an international heritage.
Madagascar is also a member of the biosphere’s world network that unites in 2008 a network of 529 reserves of 105 countries. It is a range of varied ecosystems and its conservation is considered today as a strong alternative facing the climate change.
Finally, the Big Island is a member of the International Union for the Conservation of the Nature(IUCN), that is the consultative organism by the Committee of the world heritage for the survey and the enrollment of natural sites to the list of the world heritage, and the assessment of the state of conservation of these sites.
Zoom on the protected areas
Since 2001, ANGAP has carried out a national network management plan of protected areas (GRAP Plan). From this plan, ANGAP set up the management plan for each protected area: 47 protected areas through the island. These management plans take into account the priorities of Madagascar National Park and its engagements through the third environmental plan: biodiversity conservation, environmental education, ecotourism, equitable sharing with local population.
The categories of the protected areas
The protected areas gather the best Malagasy natural sites. Terrestrial or marine, they have in common an exceptional biodiversity. They shelter representative species of the ecosystem and serve as habitats for numerous endemics that require specific and/or urgent conservation measures.
47 protected areas are now listed across Madagascar. They are classified according to their natural features, the potential of their biodiversity and the type of management that can agree with these conditions. The classification criteria join those of the International Union of the Conservation of the Nature (IUCN).
The category 1 concerns the complete natural reserves (RNI). These complete natural reserves are exceptional due to their fauna and flora’s quality that will be kept in their wild state. The necessity to maintain the wild nature forbids the visitors to enter, circulate or camp inside the natural reserves.
The category 2 concerns the national parks (PN. Their conservation takes into account a tourist dimension, because these national parks are managed in order to allow public visit. The entry is paying and a guide is in charge of the visit within the parks.
The category 3 concerns the special reserves (RS). There are managed in order to a pure conservation because they shelter characteristic species within the region. This specificity increases the ecotourism in this kind if protected area.
The management of the protected areas
If their management corresponds to their categories, Madagascar National Park always puts in the first place a participative approach. The association is convinced that the environment is deeply linked with the economic and social development. This approach permits to involve local communities progressively in managing and protecting their environment. Activities linked with this management are in different levels.
A local structure, called “orientation and support committee of the protected area” (COSAP), works with Madagascar National Parks to manage easily these natural resources. COSAP is composed of volunteers from the civil society. Its mission is, among others, to defend advantages and interests of protected area and surrounding villages, so that they are taken into account in the management plan and the conservation actions. Committee’s point of view is considered in the management and the development of the regional ‘plans, the sensitization and the integration of local populations, and finally to face conflicts that may affect protected area’ management and conservation.
The COSAP is also in charge of the assessment of the contract conditions between the administrator and the beneficiary communities. It supervises the implementation of the micro project and participates in the assessment of the biodiversity health indicators of the protected areas.
The rights of entry in the protected areas
Madagascar National Park allows 50% of returns on the rights of entry in the protected areas (DEAP) to finance activities and projects of local populations. 90% of it benefit to the adjacent communities. 5% are given annually to regions in order to fund independent projects of the neighboring townships of the protected areas. These projects are based on the local development plan and the management development plan of protected areas. COSAP manages this fund that comes from DEAP.