Posted on 17 April 2016
Zimbabwe has vast experience in the sustainable use of natural resources. It was the first country in Africa to develop an alternative approach to the management of wildlife outside protected areas using community based natural resources management approaches. Despite challenges that have beset the country in recent years, it still holds natural assets and innovations of global significance. It has the third largest individual black rhino population in the world and carries some 84 000 elephants. It introduced bio-fuel production and use with a 5% mandatory blending of bio-ethanol with petrol in 2013. The figure was raised to 10% a year later. It is therefore possible that with appropriate technical and financial support and encouragement, Zimbabwe can sustainably manage its natural heritage. WWF Zimbabwe stands ready to render support.
The Conservation Strategy covers the following thematic areas: wildlife and protected areas management; forestry and landscape management; wetlands management; and renewable energy solutions which fall within the wildlife, forests, freshwater, and climate and energy Global Practices of WWF respectively. The themes present opportunities to positively impact on Zimbabwe's rich natural resource assets which are under siege from agricultural expansion; high population growth and urbanization rates; over-reliance on wood energy; illegal wildlife killing and trade; and climate change, among other pressures. Strategies that mitigate the impacts of these pressures, key results and indicators are presented.
About 80% of the Conservation Strategy efforts will be implemented in four priority landscapes namely: the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA), Mid Zambezi, South East Lowveld; and Greater Mapungubwe. The remaining 20% will be in geographical locations considered critical by national stakeholders. The priority landscapes were chosen for their rich floral and faunal biodiversity that transcends national boundaries and thus offers opportunities for trans-boundary collaboration across WWF offices.
The successful implementation of the Conservation Strategy revolves around effective communication and local ownership; partnerships; people and organizational development; and financial resource mobilization through the following actions:
a. Making WWF Zimbabwe an unambiguous, visible, vibrant, and locally relevant office that appeals to a wide range of stakeholders and is rooted in the Zimbabwe fabric;
b. Developing and/or strengthening strategic partnerships that deliver conservation at scale based on comparative advantage, mutual respect and accountability;
c. Attracting and retaining a motivated, effective and lean personnel complement that grows organically with the demands of the conservation programme; and,
d. Increasing and diversifying the office's funding levels and sources to sustain conservation delivery.
We at WWF Zimbabwe remain mindful that issues of the environment and natural resources are everybody's responsibility. We therefore call upon all Zimbabweans and our international partners to join with us as we embark on supporting the implementation this Conservation Strategy.