Reply To: National Parks, civilisation and globalisation

Author Replies # Posted on May 21, 2014 at 06:31

GEH 20th may; Jane Carruthers

National parks, civilization and globalization

Carruthers mentions in her speech and text the disparity between World Heritage sites (higly controlled/monitored) and National Parks (in the case of Southern Africa almost not monitored), which sketches a complex question whether these qualifications are any good and whether it would be beneficial to standardize parks any more.

As far as I understood from the discussion “National parks” in South Africa are qualified as such to rank them over other parks or reserves or to show national importance or pride. When it comes to regulation such a park nothing is set in stone; there is no unifying rule for national parks globally; which makes the title of ‘national park’ pretty much obtainable to pretty much any park there is; this raises the question whether we should use a phrase still, since it is open to everyone; it does not necessarily reflect the pride that was supposed to come with it. IN the case of South Africa it often means that the “national park” is often open to commercial exploitation, without complete clear monitoring how the biodiversity is maintained at the same time. I agree with the notion that every park is different and is hard to standardize,but I would think that if a park carries the title “national park” that it needs to adhere to some specifics. These specifics do not have to be too specific, but I can imagine there could be a commission judging on if a park has any national significance; whether it is unique in its kind; and whether it is preserved for the local people (and not merely exploited for commercial gains), without imposing continous boundaries like the world heritage does.

Regarding Unesco’s World Heritage Sites I was surprised to learn that you actually have to put in an application (which fair enough should be an option to everyone), but that Unesco itself doesn’t pick any sites (so it is a one sided option). I am sure that if they consider Kruger’s national park worthy of a WOrld Heritage Site, but Kruger park is afraid that they can’t commercialize it anymore in the rate that they do now, i am sure they should be able to step in.Of course this is not as simple as i just wrote it down, but there should be some more initiative from this foundation, since it is aimed towards protecting important heritage sites around the world, and these sites can’t apply for themselves.

To come back to the question of national parks and standardization I ahve started to wonder whether all national parks, for example in Europe are also so loosely regulated and lack supervision