Demining process in Angola holds huge spin-offs

15 Aug 2013 06:00
WINDHOEK, 15 AUG (NAMPA) - The demining process by the Angolan government on the Okavango-Zambezi border will have positive spin-offs for conservation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, as it will allow for the free movement of goods and people.
This is according to a communique issued by the Ministers for Environment, Wildlife and Natural Resources from Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe after a meeting held on the progress and development of the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA). The meeting took place in Menongue, Angola on 07 August this year.
“We note with satisfaction the progress achieved since our last meeting of 15 November 2012 in Livingstone, Zambia, which includes the efforts of the Angolan government for demining the Angolan component of the KAZA TFCA, which allows the free movement of goods and people; and the construction of basic infrastructure in the Angolan component of the KAZA TFCA,” it stated.
KAZA TFCA is a partnership between Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which combines 36 national parks, game reserves, community forests, conservancies and game management areas into the world’s greatest conservation area.
The surface area is more than 444 000 square kilometres.
The ministers said they are satisfied with the progress made, amongst others towards drafting the hosting agreement between KAZA TFCA and the government of Botswana; the development of the KAZA TFCA Master Integrated Development Plan; as well as the drafting of recommendations for the Harmonisation of Natural Resources’ Management and Tourism Development Policies.
They furthermore commended the strengthening of the KAZA TFCA Secretariat for the recruitment of additional personnel; the drafting of the Financial Sustainability Strategy; the finalisation of country Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) for Botswana and Namibia; the electrification of the Savuti Wildlife Camp in Botswana; the provision of law-enforcement equipment for the effective management of protected areas in Namibia and Zambia; the construction of 20 elephant protection walls around water points; as well as the provision of N.dollars 1,1 million to conservancies in support of the Human-Wildlife Conflict Self-Reliance Scheme in Namibia.
Also noted was the ongoing construction of the Sioma Ngwezi Park headquarters in Zambia, and support to Conservation Agriculture around Sioma Ngwezi; as well as the development of the Machenje community lodge in the same country.
The ministers also acknowledged the KAZA TFCA Secretariat's collaboration with partners on the mainstreaming of water, fisheries and forestry as enablers for securing trans-boundary wildlife corridors.
They then expressed their gratitude over the initiation of the development of the KAZA TFCA Visa, with support from the World Bank, to facilitate the seamless travel of tourists across the KAZA landscape, and raising the profile of KAZA TFCA through participation at various tourism platforms worldwide.
Partner countries were also commended for the ratification of the KAZA TFCA treaty, which provides an enabling platform for the areas to be recognised as a legal entity.
Meanwhile, the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the KAZA national office in Cuito Cuanavale, Angola also took place before the meeting.
The next meeting is scheduled to take place in Namibia in 2014, whose date will be confirmed at a later stage.
The KAZA TFCA was launched in 2012 with financial support from the Government of Germany, and has a permanent secretariat based in Kasane, Botswana.
(NAMPA)
PC/AS/TK