Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe to receive 3 million euro investment through the SADC TFCA Financing Facility to boost infrastructure and development
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Gonarezhou Conservation Trust in Zimbabwe have signed a new grant agreement for the Gonarezhou National Park Infrastructure Support Programme to be implemented for 3 years up to 2026.
Through this grant, the Gonarezhou Conservation Trust will receive support from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCA) Financing Facility worth Euros 3 million to improve conservation outcomes through park infrastructure in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. This funding is part of the Facility’s broader purpose of investing in tangible measures that strengthen ecological, economic, cultural and institutional connectivity within TFCAs for the management of shared natural resources and sustainable development.
Gonarezhou National Park is Zimbabwe’s second largest National Park spanning over 5,000 square kilometres of total land area. The Park is part of the interconnected ecosystems forming the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, an initiative between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. “The signing of this grant is a huge milestone for us,” said Simon Capon, Business Director of Gonarezhou National Park. “It will help to improve access roads and infrastructure for both protected area management and for tourists within the northern part of Gonarezhou National Park. It’s a game changer that will help us sustain the Park for future generations.”
Under this project, the specific interventions include an upgrade of internal roads in the Park, and the construction of staff houses and tourist facilities. It is envisaged that the improved infrastructure will improve day-to-day park operations, and tourism revenue, strengthen financial sustainability for the Park, and benefits to local communities. “This is significant not only for Zimparks alone, but for Zimbabwe as a whole for wildlife and local communities,” said Fulton Magwanya, Director General of Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. “There is no way we can protect the wildlife without the communities. They are our first line of defence.” This project will also create temporary employment opportunities for local communities living near the Park.
“Transfrontier conservation is a vital component of the broader conservation landscape. As the SADC Secretariat, our role is to facilitate cross-border conservation efforts and we are proud to do so in partnership with our stakeholders. Now we have funding from the German Development Corporation of (BMZ) and KfW to facilitate that process.” Ndapanda Kanime, Senior Programme Officer, SADC Secretariat. TFCAs are founded on the realisation that natural resources that straddle international boundaries are shared assets with the potential to meaningfully contribute to the conservation of biodiversity and the socio-economic development of rural communities. They provide a means of creating an enabling environment for local participation in decision-making processes, increasing opportunities for investment in income-generating activities for communities to improve local economies resulting in poverty reduction. The positive ecological effects of well-managed TFCAs further promote the sustainability of ecosystems and their capacity to provide the necessary goods and services required to support the sustainable development of the region through a unique level of regional cooperation amongst participating countries.
“The Facility was created as a partnership through the leadership of SADC Secretariat and with the generous support of the German Government to address the issue of financing that will support conservation outcomes. This collaboration speaks to the theme of this year’s World Wildlife Day: Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation,” acknowledged Luther Anukur, IUCN Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “This financing is looking at development with a holistic view of people, nature and wildlife to achieve comprehensive long-term results.”