Following a meeting of the Board of South African National Parks (SANParks), held on Wednesday, 26th November 2014, SANParks has announced the successful completion of the first phase of the...
Though much has been said about the development of a Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) integrated livelihoods diversification strategy, the time for implementation is nigh. With the extensive drought across the region continuing, local communities living just outside the fence of our protected areas are more vulnerable than ever. The impact of the drought will have an affect long after the rains return, especially from a livestock perspective. We need to make sure that we are ready and able to support those working in this space (including the communities themselves) to address the short and longer term effects of this drought on our neighbours.
The strategy development process is therefore ramping up into its final phases. This follows on the largest workshop yet, completed at Mopani Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park this February. This workshop focused on the strategic challenge of ‘what to say no to’. There are a very large number of good ways in which one can intervene to support local livelihoods, and hence it is necessary to agree, from a GLTFCA perspective, on the best approach to select interventions to channel scarce resources such as time and budget toward.
The challenges are not only to select between priority geographies and priority sectors, but also between projects operating at different scales (household, community and regional scales) and different timescales (short-term relief versus medium-term and long-term sustainable development). A very delicate and sophisticated approach is needed to package the most prudent parcel of interventions to meet the expectations for impact today while also the sustainable development challenges anticipated in future. Thanks are in order for the large number of stakeholders who continue to support this process and provide inputs as role-players try to make sense of this highly complex challenge together.
One of the significant steps forward following the February meeting was crafting a draft vision for the strategy: “Flourishing together in harmony with nature.” The importance of building trust, working collaboratively and sharing benefits was a loud theme that came through during these discussions – a noble challenge indeed.
The next steps in the process are to finalise the GLTFCA strategy. A draft document will be circulated in early March and will be sent to all registered stakeholders for comment. The implementation planning process which focuses on the Crooks Corner node (including Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe) has also been initiated and one final event will be convened to look at this plan and the next steps on implementing the outcomes of the process.