Kaza reinforces wildlife conversation

Leonard Ncube in LIVINGSTONE, Zambia

The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (Kaza TFCA) technical meetings are being held in Zambia as experts from the five Member States deliberate on the state of wildlife conservation ahead of the Ministers Meeting on Wednesday.

The Ministers Meeting will pave way for the Heads of State Summit on Friday, where all five Presidents from the Kaza Member States are expected to attend.

The Summit is being held under the theme “Leveraging Kaza’s natural capital and cultural heritage resources as catalysts for development of the eco-system.”

Wildlife, conservation and tourism experts are attending the meeting, which started on Saturday.

Representing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment, Climate and Wildlife, Professor Prosper Matondi, the Director for Wildlife and Forestry Resources Management in the Ministry, Mr Tanyaradzva Mundoga said Kaza should be the best-managed conservation area in the world.

The KAZA TFCA is a conservation area spanning five Southern African countries. It is centred on the Caprivi-Chobe-Victoria Falls corridor.

It has 520 000 km2 across Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, with a population of three million people and 227 900 elephants.

Said Mr Mundoga: “This programme started on May 24 with technical meetings and we had a deep dive into key issues. On Monday we discussed how we are implementing Kaza and managing the wildlife resource to ensure that communities benefit.

“The Ministers Meeting will then distil the issues coming out of the technical meetings for the Heads of State Summit. We are expecting that our Heads of State will reaffirm their commitment so that Kaza becomes a success and maintains its position as the best managed conservation area, not only in Africa but in the whole world,” said Mr Mundoga.

He implored Kaza Member States – Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe – to join forces to address human-wildlife conflict.

“We need to seriously consider Kaza’s financial position so that we do not depend on donor support. We need to provide for our communities using our own resources. We have serious human-wildlife conflict in the Kaza landscape so we also need to learn from our counterparts,” he said.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Dr Takaruza Munyanyiwa said Zimbabwe has done a lot in terms of wildlife conservation, especially through various programmes such as the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) where communities are involved as decision makers.

“Being part of this five-country bloc helps us in conservation and gives us a diversified product for promotion. This meeting is going to look at a number of issues that will improve mobility among the countries. All this hinges on working with the communities.

“The issue of community involvement came out prominently in the discussions, we should not leave any community behind,” said Dr Munyanyiwa.

About 70 percent of the Kaza land is under conservation and there are 103 wildlife management areas, 85 forest reserves and three world heritage sites in the area.

The Kaza States signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006, resulting in the Kaza Treaty of 2011.

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