After 13 years, initially focussing on the establishment of the core area, the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) is ready to extend the benefits to its neighbours. “The GLTFCA...
In 2015, the Joint Management Board (JMB) of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park and Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTP & GLTFCA) initiated a process of developing an Integrated Livelihoods Diversification Strategy. A year later, a first version of the strategy (2016 – 2030) has been finalised. This is the culmination of an extensive process of engagement with a wide range of stakeholders in Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, as described in the following video clip:
The strategy has set a framework to guide the implementation of livelihood related interventions in the whole of the GLTFCA, including through new and existing initiatives. A vision and mission were agreed in one of the multi-stakeholder workshops and a set of strategic objectives were defined following a participatory eco-system goods and services study. These are:
- Strategic Objective One: To protect and restore the natural resources that support livelihoods;
- Strategic Objective Two: To enhance the ability of local communities to capture the benefits of existing (and new) livelihood opportunities;
- Strategic Objective Three: To empower people with a wider range of livelihood choices through supporting the development of human, social, productive and financial capital, thus reducing unsustainable dependency on diminishing natural capital reserves;
- Strategic Objective Four: To build effective partnerships and institutions based on trust and collaboration; and
- Strategic Objective Five: To strengthen governance and capacity at all levels, including the community level.
These, together with the prioritisation matrix, form the framework of the strategy. The next steps will be to translate this into a range of conservation and development plans for each of the nine nodes. This remains the responsibility of the national parks and their local partners and, in some cases, such plans already exist.
As partners in each node begin to align the implementation of their livelihoods initiatives to those undertaken in other nodes through the GLTFCA strategy, it is anticipated that this will help us achieve greater coordination, more sharing of lessons and enhanced opportunities to leverage synergies. A set of GLTP programmes will also be introduced to support these aims. This will include partnership strengthening and capacity building activities between key partners, within communities and in projects themselves. Joint research programmes coordinated with local universities will strive toward answering local defined questions and will be designed to allow for transboundary analysis and comparison. Cultural exchanges can be explored as part of the wider GLTP exchange programme. This includes exchanges between countries, nodes and sectors. A wide range of awareness raising interventions as well as more formal training opportunities will also be important to achieving greater impacts from our livelihood initiatives. Communication, engagement and fundraising initiatives can be coordinated within and between nodes and supported as far as possible by the JMB and partners (e.g., PPF).
The implementation of the strategy will be monitored and evaluated regularly as well as on a five year review cycle. This will reflect on a range of output indicators but will specifically focus on measuring how interventions have translated into impacts on the livelihoods of individuals living in the TFCA. We will know we have been successful when more people recognise that they are better off because of their proximity to protected areas than they would be further away.