Velondriake community meeting, Gabriel Diamond, 2014
PARTNER POST FROM BLUE VENTURES
Creating a new protected area takes time. The members of the Velondriake locally managed marine area (LMMA) management association in southwest Madagascar have been patiently biding theirs for a number of long years. The seven-year journey towards formal government recognition of their protected area has seen a protracted political crisis, two tropical cyclones, coral bleaching events, and countless administrative hurdles. So it’s perhaps not surprising that when Velondriake’s community leaders heard the announcement that their LMMA was to receive permanent designation as a “New Protected Area” (Nouvelle Aire Protégée / NAP), they preferred to wait until they had a copy of the stamped, signed Decree in their hands to hold celebrations.
Now the i’s have been dotted, the t’s crossed and we finally have it: a definitive protected area with a formal Decree establishing the activities that are allowed and those that are forbidden within its boundaries.
For the Velondriake Association and Blue Ventures, joint managers of the Velondriake NAP, this achievement sparks a mix of relief and pride, along with an awareness of the responsibility in our hands, and the challenges that lie ahead…