By Dominic Sikopo
THE Ministry of Environment and Tourism, along with the other Ministries responsible for the environment, wildlife and tourism sectors in SADC countries launched the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Trans frontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) in the town of Katima Mulilo recently.
The governments of the Republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe reached an agreement to work towards the establishment and development of a major TFCA and premier tourism destinations that straddles their international boundaries.
The key objective of the proposed Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation area will join fragmented wild-life habitats into an interconnected mosaic of protected area while the Trans boundary wild life corridors will facilitate and enhance the free movement of animals across international boundaries.
Speaking at the launch, Minister of Environment and Tourism Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said Community Based Natural Resources Management programme (CBNRM) within KAZA and TFCA is of great importance as it involves Traditional leaders.
Ndaitwah said that since last year in Namibia, through CBNRM, communities were able to generate a combined income of N$50 million and that jobs are created under the programme.
The CBNRM programmes such as conservancies or game management areas, do not replace livestock or crops with wild life and tourism. It simply becomes additional forms of land use along side existing uses such as crops, livestock and other schemes.
“It is important to underline the fact that KAZA TFCA programmes are for the communities who are also represented by traditional leaders from all five-partner countries. While five ministers present today will ensure that such community inspirations are met represent governments, “said Ndaitwah.
The KAZA TFCA will incorporate 36 formally proclaimed national parks, game reserves, forest reserves, game/wildlife management areas, as well as intervening conservation and tourism concessions set aside for consumptive and non-consumptive uses of natural resources.
Ndaitwah also said that CBNRM programme has proven to be an important instrument for governments and countries to meet the goals of conservation and sustainable development. While observing the principles stipulated in the KAZA TFCA treaty.
“It is our responsibility as partner countries to ensure that the KAZA TFCA is developed as a sustainable conservation and tourism development programme from which our partner countries and rural communities can derive equitable social and economic benefits.
We believe natural resources are the main drivers of rural economic growth and development when their full potential is unlocked through modern, market-based conservation approaches.
Therefore money invested in KAZA will have a direct impact on the rural communities as the sustainable use of soil and water, wild animals and plants is at the heart of CBNRM programme,” Ndaitwah said.
The Minster committed to ensure that the KAZA TFCA partner countries will provide efficient decision making and avail information that will promote self reliance of the communities.
“Despite the successes and accomplishments of CBNRM and KAZA TFCA, it recognised that living with wild life often carries a cost. Due to the increased wildlife population and expansions into communal land, has resulted in conflict between wildlife and man.
“Frequent conflicts between people and animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas of the KAZA TFCA, have resulted in livestock and crop losses across the country and in some instances loss of human lives.
Ndaitwah however caution for calm saying innovative mechanisms are being put in place to reduce the level and impact of human wildlife conflict, to ensure the benefits of conservation management out weigh the costs.