Story by Memory Chamisa
ZIMBABWE and Zambia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Lower Zambezi Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area to enhance wildlife conservation.
The MOU is testimony of the joint resolve and dedication by Zimbabwe and Zambia to advancing partnership in the area of transboundary collaboration, through the conservation of natural resources and upliftment of communities.
The agreement signed this Friday is set to enhance ecosystem integrity and natural ecological processes by harmonising environmental management procedures between the two countries.
Zambia’s Minister of Tourism, Honourable Rodney Sikumba reiterated the need to involve communities in wildlife conservation.
“It is worth mentioning that the primary focus of this partnership is to conserve this landscape by fostering the connectivity of the landscape and joint sustainable utilisation of natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations,” he said.
“As you may be aware, Zambia already participates in the management of two established TFCAs, which are the Malawi Zambia TFCA and the Kavango Zambezi TFCA.
“Arising from these, we have seen the benefits that accrue from the establishment of Transfrontier conservation areas, which include but are not limited to the great potential to attract substantial investment, the direct benefits that accrue to the community livelihoods, and the protection and enhancement of natural resources in the landscapes. Thus, the TFCA initiative has provided a platform for governments to combine resources and work together to archive wildlife conservation in unity, thereby impacting livelihoods beyond borders.”
The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu applauded the partnership of development partnership, stressing the need to conform set regulations.
“It is important that we expedite the planning and implementation of initiatives for local communities to realise meaningful benefits on our quest to attain an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. By the same token, we acknowledge that it took us a long to get the MoU signed and we may need to expedite the drafting of the Treaty so that we create the foundations for the formal establishment and implementation of the LOZAMAP TFCA for sustainable development and facilitation of equitable benefit sharing,” he said.
“Key stakeholders who have supported this initiative for their tireless efforts. I wish to specifically mention the following organisations from the Zimbabwe side who directly assist in the Zimbabwe component of the TFCA, i.e. the Peace Parks Foundation, the Africa Wildlife Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme, and the Global Environment Facility through the GEF6 project. We take this opportunity to invite all interested players and stakeholders in the conservation sector to partner with us and ensure the successful implementation of this worthwhile programme.”
Zimbabwe and Zambia already have agreements in several existing programmes, including the Kavango Zambezi and Zimbabwe Mozambique Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Areas, joint energy development and power generation on the Zambezi River and Water Resources Conservation and Management on the shared Lake Kariba.