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28 Oct 2022
Peace Parks Foundation is honoured to welcome the President of Zambia, His Excellency Hakainde Hichilema, as its newest Patron. In graciously accepting the invitation from Peace Parks, President Hichilema has voiced steadfast support for the Foundation’s extensive conservation and community development work in the country.
Peace Parks, with the support of donors, has played an instrumental role in the establishment of two transfrontier conservation areas of which Zambia is a member state, namely the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area – the world’s largest cross-border protected area – and the Malawi Zambia (MAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area. Within these areas, Peace Parks currently focusses on the restoration, protection and sustainable development of KAZA’s Sioma Ngwezi National Park and Simalaha Community Conservancy, the first community conservancy in Zambia, as well as the Chama block and Nyika National Park in MAZA.
President Hichilema, who was inaugurated as Head of State on 24 August 2021, has placed a strong emphasis on enhancing environmental sustainability, economic transformation and job creation, and human and social development.
The full value of our ecosystems and biodiversity, and utilising our natural resources sustainably, cannot be underestimated. The Simalaha Community Conservancy, for example, is an exemplary model of how communities can be empowered to sustainably derive benefits from the land, while capitalising on the economic opportunities that conservation areas can create in sectors such as wildlife management and tourism. We commend Peace Parks Foundation for working hand-in-hand with our people and we are fully committed to supporting their endeavours so that we can amplify the positive impacts on livelihoods through conservation
Hakainde Hichilema, President of the Republic of Zambia
Situated strategically within the Chobe Zambezi dispersal area, one of six key wildlife dispersal areas within KAZA, Simalaha comprises 180 000 ha of communal land that the Sesheke and Sekhute Chiefdoms agreed to jointly develop as a wildlife conservancy. Here the communities responsibly manage and protect natural resources and wildlife, whilst also promoting income generation through nature-based economies and tourism. Peace Parks supports various projects – such as agriculture, sustainable resource use, wildlife management, tourism development, aquaculture, wildlife protection and education – that assist the people of Simalaha in achieving these goals.
In a further display of his commitment to environment sustainability, President Hichilema established a new Ministry of Green Economy and Environment in September, which will be tasked with sustainability developing the green economy and helping to safeguard Zambia’s biodiversity.
Peace Parks CEO Werner Myburgh said:
“We are deeply honoured to welcome President Hichilema as an Honorary Patron of Peace Parks Foundation and are inspired by his vision of conserving biodiversity for the benefit of the people of Zambia. This is a vision which aligns closely with the objectives of Peace Parks. We value our partnerships with governments across the Southern African Development Community, as these are crucial to our quest of restoring functional ecosystems across the region and securing a future where people and nature can co-exist.”
Peace Parks Foundation has seven honorary patrons – President Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia); President Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi); President Hage Geingob (Namibia); His Majesty King Letsie III (Lesotho); President João Lourenço (Angola); His Majesty King Mswati III (Eswatini); and President Filipe Nyusi (Mozambique).