Latest News23 June 2014
Okavango Delta a World Heritage Site
Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the 1 000th site inscribed on the World Heritage List on 22 June 2014. Okavango was inscribed as a natural site by Unesco's World Heritage Committee. → read more…
The Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area is situated in the Okavango and Zambezi river basins where the borders of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe converge. It is the world's largest transfrontier conservation area, spanning approximately 520 000 km2 (similar in size to France).
It includes 36 national parks, game reserves, community conservancies and game management areas. Most notably, the area will include the Caprivi Strip, Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta (the largest Ramsar Site in the World) and the Victoria Falls (a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World).
Kavango Zambezi promises to be southern Africa's premier tourist destination with the largest contiguous population of the African elephant (approximately 250 000) on the continent. Conservation and tourism will be the vehicle for socio-economic development in the region.
A memorandum of understanding towards what is set to become Africa’s biggest conservation area and the world's largest transfrontier conservation area was signed in December 2006. To guide its development, the five governments had commissioned a pre-feasibility study, facilitated by the Foundation. A Secretariat was appointed to steer KAZA TFCA’s development.
In June 2010 the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW committed $27.6 million for KAZA TFCA’s development. Peace Parks Foundation was appointed as implementing agent by the partner countries to provide financial management and technical and co-financing support to the KAZA secretariat. The Netherlands Directorate-General for International Cooperation supported various projects to the amount of $690 000.
On 18 August 2011 the presidents of the republics of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe signed a treaty that formally and legally established the Kavango Zambezi TFCA.
KAZA TFCA was officially launched on 15 March 2012 when the ministers responsible for the environment, wildlife, natural resources, hotels and tourism of the five partner countries hosted various stakeholders in the town of Katima Mulilo, Namibia, and unveiled the KAZA TFCA treaty.
On 8 March 2013, State Secretary Hans-Jürgen Beerfeltz of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development handed a cheque to the amount of $21.3 million to the SADC Deputy Executive Secretary, Mr João Caholo and the government ministers of the five countries partnering in the KAZA TFCA that will be implemented by KfW. This is in addition to the $27.6 million previously donated.
Thanks to the KAZA TFCA treaty being ratified by three of the five partner countries, the TFCA is now a legally constituted entity and its secretariat can be registered as a legal entity.
During the year, various wildlife corridors in KAZA were identified and conservation strategies for specific species such as wild dog were finalised.
With the completion of the integrated development plans (IDPs) for Botswana and Namibia, IDPs for all five partner countries are now being implemented. Good progress was made with the development of the KAZA TFCA master IDP, with the appointment of a project team by the KAZA TFCA secretariat to undertake this task. Various joint projects, aimed at improving natural resource management, land-use planning, tourism, infrastructure and alternative livelihood development, are being investigated and will inform key actions of the plan. Peace Parks Foundation is assisting with the preparation of the master IDP and its GIS section is providing mapping and planning support to the technical experts developing the IDP. The IDP process is a comprehensive and participatory planning process that aligns the planning and development of the different tiers of government with those of the private sector and communities. It also informs the national development strategy of that particular area. The five separate IDPs, with the master IDP for KAZA TFCA as a whole, will promote the sustainable and equitable development, utilisation and management of KAZA TFCA.
The consultants appointed by the World Bank to develop the pilot KAZA visa have been visiting the region to undertake stakeholder consultation meetings to gather information on what is needed from the various stakeholders, i.e. customs, immigration, security and finance.
A report on a financial sustainability strategy for KAZA was finalised by the appointed consultants. It proposes a suite of short-, medium- and long-term strategies for sustainable financing, such as minimising the operational costs of the secretariat, developing a fundraising programme, establishing an endowment fund, acquiring and leasing out property and concessions, eliciting annual government contributions, and creating other innovative income-generating streams. This strategy must still be approved by the partner countries.
To harmonise existing policies and legal frameworks, the appointed project managers identified a number of disparities among the conservation areas that constitute KAZA TFCA, including their conservation status, level of development, management regime and in the legislation and policies governing them. The main recommendations are that an effort should be made to harmonise the policies and practices in:
- natural resource management, with a focus on wildlife corridors, shared watercourses and strategies for conserving and managing species of economic and ecological relevance
- tourism, specifically by developing economic linkages between the partner countries, committing to responsible tourism and introducing a system of collecting park entry fees at a single pay point
- legislation, specifically by recognising the TFCA in national legislation and relevant policy documents.
See also the work being done in the Simalaha Community Conservancy and the Sioma Ngwezi National Park and visit the KAZA TFCA website for more information.