Zimbabwe and Zambia are committed to strengthening the protection of the natural heritage of the lower Zambezi-Mana River basins. This commitment is the subject of a memorandum of understanding signed by the two southern African countries on 26 May 2023 in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. The agreement officially establishes the lower Zambezi-Mana River basins as a transboundary conservation area (TCA).
It’s now official. The lower Zambezi-Mana basins have acquired the status of transboundary conservation area (TCA). This is the result of a memorandum of understanding signed on 26 May 2023 by the Zimbabwean Minister for the Environment, Climate, Tourism and the Hospitality Industry, Ngobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, and the Zambian Minister for Tourism, Rodney M. Sikumba.
In addition to formalising the status of the TCA, the signing of this memorandum of understanding reflects the desire of the two southern African countries to promote the concerted and sustainable management of shared resources. “This initiative creates new opportunities for our governments, local communities and stakeholders to advance sustainable development agendas and ensure that tangible benefits are shared equitably by all participants,” explains Minister Ngobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu. For Minister Rodney M. Sikumba, the TCA is a benefit for both communities and nature. “This act will inevitably promote peace and stability, guarantee the sustainable use of natural resources, ensure economic development and improve environmental protection”, he explains.
A factor in AFD’s sustainable development projects in Southern Africa
Although their status as TCAs is conferred by Zimbabwe and Zambia, the lower Zambezi-Mana River basins are also shared by Botswana and Namibia. Spread over 18,515km², the TCA encompasses vital conservation areas, including the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Heritage Site, Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, as well as a mosaic of game management and safari areas, communal lands and conservancies.
Among the projects that will benefit from the legal framework conferred on the lower Zambezi-Mana basins is the French Development Agency (AFD) Pro-Nature project in Southern Africa, whose sustainable fisheries component was launched on 20 April 2022 in Lusaka, Zambia.
This component completes an €11.6 million regional project, which began in 2019, and aims to restore and conserve one million hectares of biodiversity-rich habitats and improve the living conditions of 30,000 people in three critical Southern African TCAs (in Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe).