Historic Agreement Establishes Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area and Empowers Co-Management by Zimbabwe and Peace Parks Foundation

Rorly Sherwen's picture
22 February 2024

In a landmark development for Zimbabwe, they have signed a historic 20-year agreement with The Peace Parks Foundation to co-manage the renowned Greater Mana Pools Ecosystem. This comes on the back of the  establishment of the 18 515 sqkm Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) in May 2023. Both of these agreements  mark a significant step forward in the preservation and sustainable management of one of Africa's most iconic natural landscapes.

The establishment of the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools TFCA represents a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to conserve Africa's natural heritage and promote regional cooperation in conservation. By forging partnerships between governments, conservation organizations, and local communities, this initiative exemplifies a holistic approach to conservation that balances the needs of people and nature.

The establishment of the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools TFCA indicates a new era of cooperation and coordination in the management of transboundary conservation areas. Spanning across the Zambezi River, this TFCA encompasses vast swathes of pristine wilderness, including Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe and adjacent protected areas in Zambia.

As the TFCA takes shape, stakeholders are optimistic about the prospects for enhanced biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration, and socio-economic development in the region. By working together, Zimbabwe and the Peace Parks Foundation are demonstrating their shared commitment to building a future where humans and wildlife thrive in harmony within the Greater Mana Pools Ecosystem.

Under the terms of the 20-year agreement , Zimbabwe and the Peace Parks Foundation will collaborate closely on managing Mana Pools as well as various aspects of TFCA coordination, including law enforcement, ecological monitoring, community engagement, and infrastructure development. This partnership is expected to foster greater synergy, resource mobilization, and capacity-building efforts to safeguard the ecological integrity of the Greater Mana Pools Ecosystem.

Mana Pools, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its exceptional biodiversity and scenic beauty, is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including elephants, lions, hippos, and a rich variety of bird species. By combining efforts, Zimbabwe and the Peace Parks Foundation aim to enhance conservation efforts, combat wildlife crime, and promote sustainable ecotourism initiatives within the TFCA.

Crucially, the co-management model established by this agreement prioritizes the involvement of local communities in conservation decision-making processes. By empowering communities as custodians of their natural heritage, the TFCA seeks to promote socio-economic development, sustainable livelihoods, and cultural preservation initiatives in the surrounding areas.

For mor information on Lower-Zambezi Mana Pools please contact Sydney Tembo on tembo.sydney[at]gmail[dot]com and Nothando Moyo on nrmoyo[at]zimparks.org[dot]zw