Buea, 23rd March 2015 – The management of Korup National Park (KNP) on Saturday the 21th of March 2015 signed a Permanent Use Zone (PUZ) Management Agreement with Erat Community. Erat village is situated within the Korup National Park under Mundemba sub-subdivision with a population of about 452 residents.

The PUZ management agreement signing ceremony was officiated by the Divisional Officer for Mundemba, with the presence of the Mayor of Mundemba, South West Regional Delegate of Forestry and Wildlife, Programme Consultant, Conservator of KNP and the Chief of Erat.

This event comes after the successful signing of PUZ management agreement in Esukutan in April 2014 and a one-year participatory process that included village sensitisation, socio-economic studies, mapping, projection and negotiation between the management of KNP and Erat with the technical and financial support of the Programme for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources in the South West Region (PSMNR-SWR).

The main objective of the process has been to demarcate a portion of land within the Park that can sustain Erat village livelihood while preserving the integrity of KNP. The agreement will clearly carve out a total of 4,500 hectares of land within the KNP for Erat Village, outlining four management sectors. The guidelines for management, as well as the roles and responsibilities of both KNP and Erat village have been defined in a participatory manner and will be specified in the management agreement to be signed.

Within the framework of the management plan of KNP, the PUZ with an accompanying management plan is the only feasible scenario for human settlements within the Park and can thus be seen as the first step towards making in-park villages to become legal settlements within KNP.

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