An initiative on diversification of tradable products from protected areas is in the making

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) strategic vision is to help countries meet their sustainable development needs and achieve multiple environmental benefits through an integrated approach. GEF has approved funding to Zambia to support the Strengthening Management Effectiveness and Generating Multiple Environmental Benefits within and around Protected Areas in Zambia. The identified Protected Areas (PAs) are within and around the Kafue and West Lunga National Parks.

The situation analysis, conducted as part of the preparatory process for the development of the project, highlights the major threats affecting the potential of the PAs within and around the national parks in terms of biodiversity conservation, sustainable natural resources management, as well as income generation and employment creation are wildlife poaching, deforestation, unsustainable land uses, extensive fire and loss of large and intact ecosystem. Some of the underlying causes include open access exploitation of land, institutional and policy inadequacies, poverty, land degradation and climate change.

Government has realized the potential of PAs in terms of poverty reduction and job creation and is committed to unlock the potential through eco system management approach.  It is in this regard that Government has requested GEF through UNDP to pilot this approach   which will contribute to diversification of tradable products from PAs such as payment for ecosystem services and carbon trading.  These new products will augment the traditional consumptive and non–consumptive tourism.    

In the spirit of inclusive development, the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection with the support of UNDP has been engaging the stakeholders on the ecosystem approach.  The national stakeholders’ consultative meeting was held 13 December 2012 to discuss the approach and endorse the initiative that will contribute to the unlocking of the potential of the PA.   Chief Ntambu of North Western Pprovince who was among the participants  said  that “ the integrated approach is the best for the natural resources because the communities regard all natural resources as one  product”.  While, representatives from community based natural resources management forum urged the Government to consider to giving land title deeds to individuals or groups involved in management of natural resources.  This will empower the communities to negotiate   for sustainable partnerships with the private sector and share the benefits equitably.  The effective stakeholder’s engagement has contributed to sharpening the project focus of the project and expected outcomes including diversification in tradable products (carbon trading & payment of ecosystem services), establishment of community conservancies (with communities having tenure to land) and promoting sustainable alternative livelihoods. The project has a budget of $ 13.5m and will be implemented over a period of 5 years.   

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