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Monday, May 27, 2024

Zimparks, Peace Parks in conservation partnership

Story by Farai Gwaze

ZIMBABWE National Parks and Wildlife Authority (Zimparks) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Peace Parks Foundation, to support biodiversity conservation at Mana Pools National Park.

Mana Pools National Park has over 600 species, 23 of them endangered.

The five million United States dollar partnership between Zimparks and the Peace Parks Foundation comes as a boost towards sustainable conservation at the world heritage site.

Zimparks’ director general, Dr Fulton Mangwanya said, “Mana Pools National Park is one of our most important landscapes in terms of wildlife conservation because it’s a world heritage site, it is a mainland biosphere and it’s a transfrontier conservation area. We were looking for funding and technical support to effectively implement the approved plans of Mana Pools and here we are, we now have Peace Parks Foundation with us and in the first two years they are going to give us US$5 million.”

The MOU will be valid for 20 years and will establish the Greater Mana Pools Conservation Trust to ensure long-term sustainable management of the heritage site.

“As Peace Parks Foundation, we believe in a model where we partner with governments in the long term for the improved management of their protected areas. In this case, we are together establishing a special-purpose vehicle called the Greater Mana Pools Conservation Trust, and Peace Park’s role is to support the trust. It will operationalize the trust to provide financial support and also look at the sustainability of the trust because ultimately that’s your measurement of conservation success. Can you mobilize sufficient revenues that a particular area can finance its costs and even generate a surplus,” Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Mr Werner Myburgh said.

The negotiations which began in 2008 have finally borne fruit and the partnership looks to ensure economic growth and sustainable development in areas of conservation.

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