Strategy to improve livelihoods being developed

The development of a strategy to improve livelihoods of community members living in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) is on the go. The start of this process was signalled when R1.7 mil was committed to the projects by RESILIM (Resilience in the Limpopo River Basin Program), with sponsorship from USAID. The strategy will form part of an integrated development plan currently being developed for the area, and is a collaborative partnership between the USAID RESILIM B Programme, the GLTFCA, and the Peace Parks Foundation. The latter will be responsible for the financial administration of the donation.

“In line with the objectives of the treaty, the partner countries need to look at interventions aimed at creating sustainable jobs, and improving livelihoods for local communities surrounding the GLTFCA,” says GLTFCA international coordinator, Piet Theron. “This initiative will provide us with an opportunity to establish a regional baseline of current initiatives and focus our efforts in the three countries.”

The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) project is a joint agreement between the countries Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe to establish a 3 577 144 ha transfrontier park comprising of three national parks, one in each of the respective countries involved. The three areas involved are the recently proclaimed Limpopo National Park (formerly known as Coutada 16) in Mozambique, the Kruger National Park (KNP) and Makuleke region in South Africa and the Gonarezhou National Park, including the Manjinji Pan Sanctuary and Malipati Safari Area, in Zimbabwe. The treaty also provides for the establishment of the GLTFCA, which is defined as “the area adjacent to the transfrontier park, comprising compatible conservation areas but not lending itself to formal integration with the transfrontier park, which shall be managed as a Transfrontier Conservation Area”.

In order to develop the livelihoods diversification strategy for this area, a database of the existing natural resource management related livelihood initiatives within the GLTFCA area will be developed. The strategy will be based on this and, once outlined, second economy opportunities that can be supported will be identified. An important element of the project is to understand the impact of climate change in order to create resilient livelihood sustaining options.

A panel of experts will now be appointed to provide input throughout the process. The entire project is set for completion 31 March 2016 at the latest.