Zimparks has signed a follow-up Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South African-headquartered Peace Parks Foundation that aims at unlocking US$23.4 million for conservancy and rehabilitation at Mana Pools.

The MoU is a follow-up to Zimbabwe, Zambia, and the Peace Park Foundation’s establishment of the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA).

According to Peace Park Foundation’s website, the tripartite, entered into in May this year, was meant ‘to enhance cross-border protection, demonstrate international cooperation and synergy in the face of ongoing global environmental challenges.’

Wednesday’s MoU was signed by Peace Parks Foundation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Werner Myburgh and Zimparks Director General Fulton Mangwanya.

“This marks the birth of the Greater Mana Pools Conservation Trust which will be dedicated to managing and developing the landscape for a period of 20 years,” said Myburgh.

“It will be responsible for ensuring the long-term efficient sustainable management of the Mana Pools ecosystem.

“During the first 10 years of our operations, it is our joint goal to mobilise US$23.4 million to recapitalise the landscape based on a long-term financial footing.

“This includes US$12.6 million for operations and US$10.8 million for capital investment.”

The MoU affects most of the 18,515km2 TFCA which stretches into Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park.

According to Mangwanya, investment in the area will ensure it becomes self-sustaining and give back to communities around it as they are prone to dangers associated with human-wildlife conflict which are prevalent.

“What brings us together is our common objective to address the drivers of biodiversity loss in general and in the Zambezi Valley in particular,” said Mangwanya.

“It is generally noted that in the overall effort to reverse the global biodiversity crisis, partnerships are a crucial instrument

“Wildlife Conservation is an expensive endeavour which cannot be left to ZimParks alone and needs a collective response to address challenges like poaching, human-wildlife conflict, climate change as well as the need to balance community livelihoods for those living in the same vicinity with wildlife who are often victims of human-wildlife conflict without receiving any meaningful benefits from the wildlife.”