The fourth annual summit between South Africa and the European Union will be held today in the Kruger National Park game reserve. The Kruger Park is one of Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuaries, covering 19 485 square kilometres and serving as a home to 147 species of mammal and 517 bird species. This makes it the perfect location for the 24-hour summit, which will tackle issues like climate change ahead of the UN’s COP17 Conference to be held in Durban this year.
Day trippers looking to book Kruger Park tours were treated to free access last week as part of the SANParks Week celebration, which also put the Kruger National Park in the spotlight during the build-up to the EU-SA summit. South African President Jacob Zuma will lead the summit, where discussions will focus of trade and the upcoming Climate Change Conference. President Zuma will be joined at the Kruger Park by Cabinet Ministers from Water and Environmental Affairs, Trade and Industry, and Finance.
The European Union was South Africa’s largest trade partner last year, and EU officials hope to further strengthen ties as a result of the Kruger Park meeting. The summit will deal with a number of key issues like health and education, rural development, job creation and of course, environmental matters. Following their time in the Kruger Park, EU delegates will also make a visit to Johannesburg’s Soweto township.
The Kruger National Park has a long history of protecting threatened and endangered species, such as the African Wild Dog – there are thought to be a mere 400 of these remarkable animals left in the whole of South Africa. The summit has given international delegates the opportunity to experience the magic of safaris near Johannesburg, which will doubtless shine a spotlight on South Africa’s conservation efforts. During the Kruger Park meeting, both the EU and SA representatives aim to lift hopes of a climate change breakthrough, which is promising news for the approaching conference in Durban.