KAZA TFCA Secretariat and Peace Parks Foundation formalise cooperation
The Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) and Peace Parks Foundation have worked together since the inception of KAZA. On 8 April 2016, the KAZA Secretariat Executive Director, Dr Morris Mtsambiwa and Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Mr Werner Myburgh, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to formalise the long-standing cooperation and partnership in the development of KAZA TFCA. The MoU provides direction on areas of collaboration.
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 includes the Zambezi Region, 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 for the establishment of Africa’s biggest conservation area and the world’s largest terrestrial transfrontier conservation area was signed in December 2006.
To guide its development, the five governments commissioned a pre-feasibility study that was facilitated by Peace Parks Foundation. In June 2010 the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through KfW, committed funding 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.
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 TFCA.
The Kavango Zambezi 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.
In 2013 BMZ, through KfW, donated further funds for KAZA’s development.
The KAZA TFCA master integrated development plan (IDP) was finalised. 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. The partner countries are already implementing the IDPs for their components of KAZA.
A mid-term project review process was started to evaluate the achievements and constraints in the overall use of the project grants. The project funds under review comprise the BMZ funding, through KfW.
To further enhance tourism to KAZA, the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe launchedthe KAZA TFCA ‘univisa’ on 28 November 2014. The visa allows visitors access to both countries for the duration of one month. It also covers access to Botswana for day trips through the Kazungula border post, allowing tourists access to three countries. The KAZA ‘univisa’ pilot project will encourage local investment in infrastructure and the integrated marketing and development of tourism. Further, the project will open up opportunities for development and business partnerships between the tourism fraternity and the police, the immigration departments, local communities and other stakeholders. The KAZA ‘univisa’, funded by the World Bank, will be piloted by Zambia and Zimbabwefor six months before it is rolled out to the other three KAZA partner countries, namely Angola, Botswana and Namibia. Peace Parks Foundation played a key role in securing World Bank funding for this project.
On 22 June 2014 Botswana’s Okavango Delta became the 1 000th site inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Okavango is one of few major interior delta systems that do not flow into the ocean, with a wetland system that is almost intact.
In June 2014, Oryx−The International Journal of Conservation, published a study proving that a population of zebra undertake the longest big-mammal migration in Africa. The zebra travel along a 500 km round-trip route in an almost direct north-south axis between Namibia and Botswana in KAZA TFCA. Senior conservation scientist Dr Robin Naidoo and his colleagues at the Washington-based World Wildlife Fund (WWF), assisted by the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, scientists from Elephants without Borders and Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, made the discovery using GPS collars attached to eight adult Burchell’s zebra. This migration underpins the importance of TFCAs in preserving migration patterns.