AU-UN wildlife summit a great opportunity to safeguard wildlife for KAZA states

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By Sinikiwe Marodza

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Minister Priscah Mupfumira is confident the AU-UN wildlife summit will benefit countries in the Kavango Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) in a great way, as it will give them a great opportunity to get new and better ideas to safeguard wildlife and unlock the value of the region’s flora and fauna.

The AU-UN wildlife summit is the first of its kind and it set to be hosted by one of the KAZA resort towns, Victoria Falls, from June 23 to 25. Heads of states and cabinet ministers from more than 30 African have registered for the summit.

According to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority, the summit will feature more than 500 delegates from all over the world, and Mupfumira described this event as one of the greatest and rare opportunities for KAZA countries to learn and exchange ideas on how to leverage wildlife resources to turn around the region’s economy.

“When we talk of KAZA, we are talking of the area situated in the southern parts of Africa where the national borders of five countries converge - being the upper Zambezi River, Okavango basins and delta, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the south-eastern parts of Angola, south-western Zambia, the northern wild lands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe.

“This area is home to 61% of the world’s elephants, hence the need to utilise the upcoming summit and take it as an opportunity to develop a common position in elephant management and to ensure that elephants and many other endangered species are protected

“The kind of delegation that is set to attend this summit consist of head of states and cabinet ministers from at least 30 African countries, and that makes it high powered enough to make changes that can guarantee a positive result,” she said.

Mupfumira highlighted that the SADC region was facing a number of wildlife related problems that needed new and fresh ideas in terms of dealing with them.

“We have wildlife problems that need attention, for example the issue of rhino poaching. The rhino is fast becoming extinct in the region as cases of poaching continue to rise and opportunities like this summit gives the KAZA transfrontier a platform to come up with fresh ideas in terms of dealing with poaching.

“Human-wildlife conflict is one other issue that needs to be looked at. We hope to discuss how wildlife impacts the lives of ordinary people and how we can manage human wildlife conflict.

“Through this summit, we want to come up with resolutions which will be good for conservation and make sure people living with wildlife also benefit. So these are some of the issues we will be discussing,” she added.

The AU-UN wildlife summit brings with it an opportunity to reflect on Africa’s most important species, as well as recalibrate strategies to ensure that appropriate benefits accrue to nations and respective communities.

This summit comes at a time where the SADC region, more specifically the KAZA transfrontier member states, are pushing to develop a common position on elephant management as the region has exceeded its jumbo caring capacity, and having African countries at one position will definitely work in favour of the KAZA transfrontier as their agenda will now have a contribution from almost all of the African countries.

 

 

 

 

 

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