UN helps recover Iona Park (Angola)


Jornal de Angola

Date Published

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) participated in a
project of ten million dollars to rehabilitate the National Iona Park,
the largest conservation area in Angola. Partners of the project are
the government, the European Union, and the Global Environment Fund

The United Nations in Angola supports biodiversity as part of the new
challenges in the country seeking to deal with their heritage
environment. At the same time, the variety of plant and animal life is
considered by UNDP as having the potential to combat hunger and
poverty and to promote development. Speaking to UN Radio in Luanda,
the director of the Institute for Biodiversity and Conservation Areas
Environmental in Angola, Abijah Wongo, spoke of the challenge of
stimulating the recovery of thousands of elephants.

“You are hungry and have an elephant. With the sale of his meat, of
the horns and everything, you get around $21,000. But if you maintain
that elephant alive, during the lifetime of the animal, you manage to
obtain more than $160,000. In the sense of protecting the animals,
this shows that with biodiversity and some plants, that we can have
the resources to maintain living creatures.”

“The government wants to show how we can collaborate with people to
help make better use of natural resources in times of economic crisis
because of low oil prices in the international market. Besides the
money,” said Abijah Wongo, “the country wants to bring back what was
lost in the conflict that ended fourteen years ago.” The area occupied
by the Iona National Park and the Namibian Coast Park Skeleton and
Namib-Naukluft National Park form 1,200 kilometers of coastline on the
Atlantic Ocean.

With the aid of the UN Program for Development, the areas where the
animals disappeared began to be visited by tourists. In the province
of Cuango Cubango, before a battlefield during the armed conflict and
today having reverted to a nature scenario, people are bypassing the
eating of bushmeat to protect animal watchers. The idea is to preserve
the conservation areas from the threat of poachers from countries in
the region, which fells animals like elephants illegally for ivory
trafficking. To prevent this from happening, communities are taxed,
creating community involvement in the preservation of nature that the
Government considers “one of the positive signs of the partnership to
renew animal life and stimulate the economy.”