In a ceremony held on the 3rd of May 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa, organised by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), two cheques were handed over to the first recipients of Covid-19 Response Grants. The cheques are part of SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas Financing Facility (SADC TFCA FF) EUR 2 million Covid relief package made available to SADC Members States to mitigate against the impact of COVID-19 in TFCAs.
The handover ceremony was attended by SADC Secretariat Directorate for Food, Agriculture and Natural resources, IUCN-ESARO representatives, KfW (current donor) representative, representatives of SADC Member States namely Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Republic of Tanzania. Partners such as European Union delegation to Botswana, GIZ- CRNM project, the United States of America’s Embassy in Botswana, KAZA Biodiverse Landscapes Fund representatives. Peace Parks Foundation and South Africa National Parks (SANPARKS) also attended as the Covid grant recipients.
Following a call for concept notes for COVID-19 grants in 2021, Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação (ANAC), in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) were the first recipients of this grant in support of Mozambique’s Lubombo TFCA. SANPARKS will also be implementing two COVID-19 grants worth EUR 60,000 and EUR 38,493 for Richtersveld National Park and Mapungubwe National Park respectively. More Covid grants will be disbursed to more beneficiaries in TFCAs, with a maximum limit of €300,000 per country to be implemented over a 12 month period.
In his speech, Mr Domingos Gove - Director of Food Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), SADC Secretariat, appreciated the flexibility demonstrated by KfW and partners to make available a EUR 2 million COVID relief package for SADC TFCAs. He indicated that the Cheque Handover Ceremony marks a new chapter in implementation of the TFCA Financing Facility, with funds made available to SADC Member States.
Mr Nils Meyer - KfW, highlighted the importance of partnerships in addressing challenges related to loss of biodiversity; destruction and fragmentation of ecosystems; and other pressures imposed on the environment by humans. In this case, the Facility’s key thematic areas of Species, Habitat and People - become relevant in addressing conservation challenges in the region. He added that “in the context of the Covid pandemic, the linkage between people and nature became more apparent.” It became more important to come up with a funding package that provides relief to people living in TFCAs in the context of conserving biodiversity and maintaining the integrity of SADC’s important ecosystems. Furthermore, Mr Nils Meyer invited more International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) to invest in the SADC TFCA Financing Facility to reach the EUR 100 million target and contribute towards sustainable financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation under the SADC TFCAs Programme.
On behalf of IUCN, Mr. Vhalinavho Kavhagali, reiterated IUCN’s commitment in supporting critical interventions to mitigate the severe threats to conservation posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pandemic placed a strain on thousands of livelihoods in vulnerable communities. These funds will contribute to temporary employment creation for 40 communities living near Maputo Special reserve, who lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. In return, these local communities will be employed in the reserve for the next 12 months to assist with conservation activities such as maintenance of park infrastructure – buildings, roads and fences. The grant will complement another COVID relief mechanism in the Park being supported by World Bank and the MozBio Fund,” said Mr Miguel Gonçalves – Park Manager, Maputo Special Reserve, ANAC, Mozambique.
Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) acknowledged how their partnership with ANAC in Maputo Special Reserve contributes to conservation impacts on the ground. As part of the partnership with ANAC, Dr Bartolomeu Soto pledged support to strengthen accounting and reporting systems for funds received from the Financing Facility.
In his acknowledgement remarks, the Acting Chief Executive Officer for SANPARKS, Mr Dumisani Dlamini, appreciated how the grants will contribute towards short-term employment creation for communities living around the two remote parks of Richtersveld and Mapungubwe National Parks, offering immediate relief for loss of livelihoods options as a result of the pandemic.
Wrapping up the ceremony, the Deputy Director General for Biodiversity Conservation in South Africa’s Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Ms Flora Mokgohloa, appreciated the covid package made available through the TFCA Financing Facility. She reiterated the great need for more funding to unlock the potential for TFCAs to contribute towards biodiversity conservation.
About SADC TFCA FF Grants:
The SADC TFCA FF grants are administered by IUCN East and Southern Africa Regional Office (IUCN ESARO) as the Project Executing Agency. IUCN ESARO will disburse Covid-19 grants to 10 Member States in the Region.
TFCAs benefiting from covid-19 grants include: Kavango-Zambezi, Lubombo, Greater Mapungubwe, /Ais /Ais-Richtersveld, Iona-Skeleton Coast, Maloti-Drakensburg and Niassa-Selous. The COVID-19 grants will be implemented by Government entities and their partners who are currently involved in supporting the various initiatives in conserving wildlife resources in the SADC Region.
The initial phase of the SADC TFCA Financing Facility currently has investments worth EUR 25 million from the German Government. The COVID-19 package is part of the fast-track funding mechanisms under the Financing Facility. It aims to address emergencies induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to contain it. Areas of support under this package include Protected Areas and Community Conservancies, tourism operations, alternative community livelihoods and related health support. The Facility aims to take a demand-driven approach that will respond to emerging crises such as natural disasters and other emergencies which affect conservation operations in TFCAs.
For more information on the SADC TFCA Financing Facility visit: SADC TFCA Financing Facility