Conservation key to sustaining community livelihood

The Chronicle

Business Reporter

ENVIRONMENT, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Deputy Minister, Barbara Rwodzi, has called for enhanced protection of conservation areas in Africa as this is key to sustaining both the lives of the communities and nature, particularly wildlife.

In remarks this week at the official opening of the Sadc pavilion on the sidelines of the Africa Protected Areas Congress (APAC) in Kigali, Rwanda under the theme: “Towards A Regional Wildlife-Based Economy Framework: Contributing to Transformative Economic Growth and Job Creation”, she stressed the need to ensure communities derive value from conservation efforts.

The core around the wildlife economy is the transfer of the benefits to communities and, not just the communities that are adjacent and around the Protected and Conserved Areas, but even further away from the buffer zones of the very protected areas, she said.

“Ensuring active participation of our communities is extremely key. These protected areas are for the communities and so we should give them a sense of ownership and belonging within a guided sustainable framework that is holistic,” said Deputy Minister Rwodzi.

She also reiterated the need to establish a Youth Forum from the Sadc countries saying youths were crucial in contributing towards decisions about nature.

In that regard, the Deputy Minister said the wildlife economy must seek to explore innovative ways to leverage wildlife resources to reduce poverty, create jobs for the communities, conserve biodiversity and wildlife spaces.

This could be achieved through expanding tourism opportunities, enhancing protection of the endangered species, ensuring sustainable use of wildlife resources and spaces and addressing direct and indirect threats for sustainable wildlife economy such as human wildlife conflict, climate change and illegal trade of wildlife.

Deputy Minister Rwodzi expressed gratitude to Sadc for the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area programme and urged partner countries to continue to embrace this important programme.

She also applauded the Africa Wildlife Fund (AWF) for assisting Zimbabwe to produce its inaugural Zimbabwe Biodiversity Report, which provides a framework to improve biodiversity economy in Zimbabwe.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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