Sifelani Tsiko Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor
Experts have concluded a strategic review of the Zimbabwe Biodiversity Economy (ZBE) study that aims to document the country’s rich biodiversity and map out strategies to harness it for the benefit of the people and the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in collaboration with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) hosted a workshop recently to validate the findings and recommendations.
It was agreed that comments from stakeholders must be incorporated into the ZBE Report and that a revised ZBE Study report be submitted to the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
“At the meeting, we agreed to organise a smaller meeting with Government principals to present the ZBE Study in order to solicit their input and buy-in before finalising and officially launching the report,” said Olivia Mufute, the AWF country director for Zimbabwe.
“Stakeholders also agreed to mobilise additional resources for setting up the institutional framework and systems for Natural Capital Accounting, that is for actual implementation of NCA.
“A phased approach on the NCA is roll out was agreed upon and initial focus will start with the accounts that are directly under the ministry of environment and other accounts related to other sectors such as mining would follow later.”
In September last year, Zimbabwe launched a national biodiversity economy study to gather data and information about the country’s biodiversity and map strategies on how best it could be harnessed for long term economic growth and the attainment of vision 2030.
The Zimbabwe Biodiversity Economy study is being implemented by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association and technical experts drawn from various sectors.
The study is being led by Dr Jane Turpie, a renowned South African conservation biologist and consultant of Anchor Environmental.
Under the project, researchers carried out an inventory of Zimbabwe’s biodiversity covering vascular plants, mammals, birds, domestic water fish, reptiles and amphibians.
The biodiversity inventory study covered all ecosystems as well as critical sectors such as capital accounts, investment, the policy and legislative sectors.
Zimbabwe has an impressive biodiversity collection that includes 59 30 plant species, 670 bird species, 270 mammal species, 156 reptile species, 120 amphibian species and 150 fish species found within and outside protected areas.
Up to now, there is no detailed analysis of the country’s biodiversity and mechanism to foster integration of biodiversity and ecosystem values into policy development and implementation.
Bio-piracy is now rampant in most African countries resulting in huge losses of benefits that come with the utilisation of plant and animal genetic resources.
A study by the African Union estimated that the continent was losing close to US$10 billion from the theft of its biodiversity.
Zimbabwe hopes to plug the gaps through the survey and map out strategies to harness biodiversity for long term economic growth.