How to live with wildlife and generate revenue from tourism, hunting and fishing
The stark reality of transforming more than fifty million hectares spread across five African countries into a single, coordinated conservation area without upsetting the local communities, was the topic of discussion at a meeting of the Namibia Scientific Society held last week Wednesday in Windhoek.
The evening, drawing almost 100 interested people, showed two films about the proposed Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area promoted under the KAZA label. Through the films, the audience visited Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia to see what the extensive area consists of, and to get a glimpse of the many local communities living in the proposed conservation area.
KAZA, the Kavango Zambesi Transfrontier Conservation Area, is a protected area that extends across these five countries which are working together to create the world’s largest conservation area, despite all the political differences and the real obstacles of integrating towns and villages into a protected area. The KAZA project is supported by the KfW Development Bank at both governmental and local community level.
After the movies, the audience was invited to a question and answer session on the realities of developing KAZA. A panel of experts moderated by the KfW office director, Dr Uwe Stoll, included the Deputy Director of Science Services in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Mr Kenneth Uiseb,, the Senior Project Manager Natural Resources at KfW, Ms Lydia von Krosigk, and the Transboundary Conservation Planning Advisor for the World Wildlife Fund, Dr Russell Taylor.
The KAZA concept became structured in 2011 after the heads of state of the five KAZA countries signed a treaty to establish a common protected area. The fundamental premise is to relieve conservation pressure in certain areas, for instance the overpopulation of elephants in Botswana, by allowing natural wildlife migration across the entire area. Sharing resources must then be to the benefit of the local communities through tourism and sustainable exploitation.
Through the Kreditanstallt fuer Wiederafbau (KfW), the German Development Bank, the German Government has committed Euro 35 million to the KAZA project to support the establishment of park infrastructure, ecological corridors and wildlife management areas.
Captured after the KAZA presentation and meeting, from the left, Mr Kenneth Uiseb, Deputy Director of Science Services in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ms Lydia von Krosigk, Senior Project Manager Natural Resources at KfW and Dr Uwe Stoll the director of the KfW office. (Photograph by Bernd Schneider for the Namibia Scientific Society)