A bi-lateral memorandum of understanding between Mozambique and South Africa on Biodiversity Conservation and Management has been signed while an implementation plan is being finalised by the two countries. This plan will facilitate
- Coordinated law enforcement operations & the management and protection of National Parks and other reserves in the TFCAs.
- The GLTFCA will also be included in this process in order to curb poaching across the borders.
Increased joint collaboration efforts on anti-poaching interventions are currently being undertaken at park management level in order to improve co-operation between the Limpopo National Park (LNP) in Mozambique and the Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa as part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) initiative. These include the following:
- Regular meetings between Limpopo National Park and Kruger National Park managers and field rangers;
- The implementation of a cross-border protocol to facilitate movement of officials across the international boundary.
- Capacity building and skills transfer
- Joint training and patrolling
- Logistical support and assistance on the ground
- Development of joint communications network
- Exchange of information and sharing of intelligence
- Relationship building through increased collaboration
- Training of field rangers in anti-poaching operations.
- Implementation of an institutional reform process, which will include the establishment of Joint Park Management Committees to faciliate effective cooperation; and
- Implementation of a joint cross border communications network, which will be focused on the areas located on both sides of the international boundary.
Due to the current Rhino poaching crisis within the GLTP, the Limpopo National Park has embarked on the following processes to ensure the safety of tourists visiting the Park:
- Implementation of an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ) located along the international boundary (i.e. on the eastern side of the Kruger National Park Fence);
- Training of an elite field ranger unit in the newly formed “Zona de Vigilância Especial (Intensive Protection Zone)” along the Park’s western boundary with the Kruger National Park. Responsibility of the rangers include addressing the rhino and elephant poaching challenges facing the GLTP. This new unit also continues to undertake co-ordinated activities with Kruger National Park’s protection unit and have assisted in increased successes in this area;
- The new Conservation Areas Act was enacted by the Parliament of the Government of Mozambique on 9 April 2014. The new Act further commits Mozambique to its international biodiversity conservation obligations . It provides for more significant sentences for wildlife crimes, which includes rhino poaching.
- Training of judges and magistrates in the implementation of the New Conservation Act, which will commence later this year.
The JMB is in the process of developing a Benefit Sharing Strategy for the GLTP. The development of this strategy is being supported by the USAID RESILIM B Programme. The main objectives of this initiative include the following:
- Develop a comprehensive database of community-based natural resource management projects within the GLTFCA area
- Develop an understanding of current workable and appropriate livelihood models within the project area
- Identify and investigate other potential workable and appropriate livelihood models that could be applied to the area
- Understand the impact of climate change through the development of resilient livelihood models
- Use scenario planning as a tool to evaluate various livelihood models and strategies and the impact of climate change on them
- Facilitate the optimising of social development opportunities within and adjacent to the GLTFCA
- Address the issues of regional integration & benefit sharing within the broader GLTFCA
In order to improve the effectiveness of patrols and joint operations between the three countries it was agreed that training for field rangers should be improved through harmonization. In 2008, the Department of Environmental Affairs under the Transfrontier Conservation Areas section in partnership with the Southern Africa Wildlife College (SAWC) developed a funding proposal to the Flemish government for the capacity building programme. The objective of this training programme was to train individuals in areas adjacent to GLTP across a number of conservation-related disciplines (according to identified training needs including para-military tactics). The aim was to improve management of natural resources in Mozambique and South Africa while creating awareness within the communities about the value of protecting natural resources, and creating job opportunities within the conservation and tourism sector for individuals. The selection of learners was conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism in Mozambique and provincial stakeholders responsible for conservation and tourism in Limpopo and Mpumalanga.
The total amount for the whole project as calculated per number of learners was R 2.5 million and the initial funding to the sum of R 1.8 million was approved in September 2008, then again in January 2009 as additional funding for field ranger and general assistant training.
Following the funding approval by the Flemish Government, the training of learners commenced in November 2008. A total number of one hundred and nine (109) field rangers were trained successfully. For general work, a total number of twenty nine (29) learners were trained successfully with the aim of developing skills to assist general field assistants who are responsible for maintenance, repair, and upkeep of any day-to-day activities in a protected area. Another group of fifty three (53) learners were trained as field/nature guides to enable them to interpret ecological attractions to the tourists. The total number of learners trained per country was 76 from Mozambique and 115 from South Africa. In June 2012, an additional twenty-one (21) more field rangers were trained on the customized GLTP Field Ranger course and six (6) of these on the train the trainer course.
The joint training initiative is continuing in 2014 through a TFCA training initiative of the SAWC and GiZ. This involved the training of 12 rangers, which consisted of four (4) people from each of the country, in anti-poaching operations and readiness. This training took place in Massingir, by the LNP from 18 to 22 August 2014.