Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in Madagascar
The conservation and management of protected areas is more efficient when local communities (Fokonolona) can attribute their share of the national park entrance fees (DEAP) as a right and not as a favor. The local communities surrounding national parks in Madagascar have been able to claim an equitable share of the benefits from tourism, notably an allocation of the of the park entrance fees. However, this practice has stopped because the allocation was seen as a favor to them and not a right, even though local communities believe it is a right under Protected Areas Law.
In Madagascar, the Protected Areas Law (COAP) mandates the manager of national parks (MNP) to manage and run conservation activities within and outside the park. Two decades ago, the manager enacted an internal decision by the Board of the Directors, that local communities can benefit 50% of the park entrance fees and can use the funds to development or agricultural activities. 20 years later, the MNP changed its mind and stopped allocating the 50% to the local communities stating that the funds need to be used to support the creation and extension of other protected areas. This change has had negative impacts on the development of local communities. The object of our Campaign is to ensure that the benefit of 50% from the park entrance fees would be recognized by the Protected Areas Law (COAP) and its implementing decrees as a right and not as a favor to assure an equitable sharing of the benefits from the conservation of protected areas. When the local communities utilize their rights, they contribute positively to the conservation of the protected areas.