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The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park Ministerial Committee meeting held in Maputo recently made several decisions which include the incorporation of the Greater Libombos Conservancy (GLC) as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) to enhance biodiversity conservation and community development. The GLC brings private concession land in the southern part of Mozambique into the whole GLTFCA project.
The establishment of the GLTP began with the signing of the Treaty by the three Heads of State from Mozambique – Limpopo National Park (LNP), South Africa – Kruger National Park (KNP) and Zimbabwe – Gonarezhou National Park (GNP) on 9 December 2002. The Treaty makes provision for the expansion of the GLTP by integrating the areas mentioned in the Treaty through the development of the GLTFCA and additional areas to be identified by the parties. The Ministers of all three GLTP Partner Countries welcomed and acknowledged the commitment towards the development of our GLTP conservation areas.
Since the signing of the Treaty, the Ministerial Committee acknowledged the following major developments within the GLTP:
- Construction and official opening of the Giriyondo Tourist Access Facility (Border Post) linking Limpopo National Park and Kruger National Parks in Mozambique and South Africa respectively.
- Mozambique’s commitment (committed) to the completion of the second phase of the LNP resettlement process.
- Translocation of wildlife from one GLTP country to another. Ministers have reaffirmed the implementation of the wildlife translocation programme for the GLTFCA wherein a number of conservation areas including Zinave National Park in Mozambique, will be restocked. In order to further support this programme, Zimbabwe will be donating 2,000 animals to restock Zinave National Park.
- Removal of sections of the international fence to allow wildlife within the Mozambican and South African components of the GLTP to move freely.
- Joint cross-border operations within the GLTP have been executed and will continue.
- A Youth Exchange Pilot Programme which took place in August 2016, wherein communities living in and adjacent to the LNP in Mozambique were taken across the border into the KNP with the aim to empower local communities, creating awareness and promoting wise use of natural resources. The ministers have endorsed the programme to be implemented more widely within the GLTP conservation areas in all the three countries.
- Ever since the GLTP Treaty was signed, it was envisaged that there would a second phase for development that would include Banhine and Zinave National Parks, the Massingir and Corumana areas and interlinking regions in Mozambique, as well as various privately and state-owned conservation areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe bordering on the transfrontier park. The borders of Banhine National Park have been re-aligned and LNP initiated the demarcation and protection of wildlife corridors to develop national park interconnectivity in GLTFCA.
- Alternative livelihoods still poses an issue within the GLTFCA, the Ministers recognized the development of the GLTFCA Sustainable Livelihoods Strategy which amongst other things facilitates the optimising of social development opportunities within the and adjacent to the GLTFCA. This is one of the major decisions of this meeting.
In addition to the above, the Ministers recognised the great strides that Mozambique has made in addressing wildlife crime and in particular the significant reduction in poacher numbers entering the Kruger National Park from Mozambique. In further support of these achievements, Mozambique will be launching an international conference on conservation and the protection of wildlife.