Zimbabwe, Zambia to Sign Ecosystems Deal

Zimbabwe and Zambia are set to conclude an agreement which is expected to foster transnational cooperation in ecosystems management through the establishment, development and management of the Lower Zambezi Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (LOZAMAP TFCA).

The TFCA development plan will be funded by the Global Environmental Facility 6.

Speaking at yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the MoU on the LOZAMAP TFCA had been approved by Cabinet and its finalisation would make way for the two countries to start implementing initiatives for the development of the area.

“The nation is being informed that Government seeks to conclude a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Zambia to foster transnational cooperation in ecosystems management through the establishment, development and management of the LOZAMAP TFCA.

“More specifically, the MOU intends to create a conducive environment for the development of the LOZAMAP TFCA, foster transnational collaboration and cooperation in ecosystem management through establishment, development and management of the LOZAMAP TFCA and promote alliances in the management of biological natural resources by encouraging social, economic and other partnerships among the stakeholders,” he said.

He said the agreement would also enhance ecosystem integrity and natural ecological processes through harmonisation of environmental management procedures and the removal of artificial barriers, thereby allowing natural movement of wildlife without restrictions, while developing frameworks and strategies to enable local communities to participate and derive tangible benefits from the management and sustainable utilisation of natural resources.

It is also expected to develop transboundary tourism as a means for fostering regional socio-economic development.

“The Lower Zambezi Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area will cover Mana Pools National Park, Hurungwe, Sapi and Chewore Safari Areas, and the adjacent communal, State and privately held land on the Zimbabwean side and the Lower Zambezi National Park, Chiawa and open areas within Siavonga and Chirundu Districts as well as State and private land in Zambia,” added Minister Muswere.

The wildlife and wildlands of the LOZAMAP TFCA are potentially an important economic asset to the communities living around the TFCA, who are the final beneficiaries of this project.

Mana Pools has some of the country’s biggest concentration of different animals and was one of the most important refuges for rhinos on the continent.

In 1994, just 10 rhinos remained, and these last individuals were moved elsewhere for their protection. Rhinos have been extinct across Zimbabwe’s national parks since 2010, and poaching remains a problem for rhino re-introduction as well as for other keystone species such as elephant.

Meanwhile, the country has also made strides to improve environment protection, climate resilience and natural resource management in other areas across the ten provinces.

Minister Muswere said Zimbabwe had established early warning systems in 61 districts by the end of the Fourth Quarter of 2022 while ecologically sensitive areas were gazetted for protection in Harare Metropolitan province and the seven rural catchment areas of the country.

“Rehabilitation of mined areas was conducted across all provinces, with the cumulative rehabilitation coverage reaching 6 029.05 hectares and 24 629 tonnes of plastic waste were recycled, exceeding the initial target of 20 000 tonnes, while 36 114.18 tonnes of paper were recycled out of the initial target of 15 000 tonnes,” he said.

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