Communities living in SADC TFCAs to benefit from COVID-19 response grants – Mozambique

Thousands of people living in 40 vulnerable communities near Mozambique’s Maputo Special Reserve and around two remote parks in South Africa who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 will be temporarily employed in parks in both countries, thanks to relief grants recently awarded to communities.

COVID-19 relief grants, made available by KfW Bank and administered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Regional Office for Eastern and Southern Africa (IUCN ESARO), offer immediate relief for the loss of livelihoods as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, people from these local communities will be employed in the parks and reserves for the next 12 months to help with conservation activities such as maintaining park infrastructure such as buildings, roads and fencing.

The COVID-19 Response Grants are part of the SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas Funding Facility (SADC TFCA FF) of €2 million in COVID-19 relief made available to SADC Member States to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in TFCAs.

IUCN ESARO will disburse the grants to 10 SADC Member States. TFCAs benefiting from COVID-19 grants include Kavango-Zambezi, Lubombo, Greater Mapungubwe, /Ais /Ais-Richtersveld, Iona-Skeleton Coast, Maloti-Drakensburg and Niassa-Selous. The COVID-19 grants will be implemented by government entities and their partners who are currently involved in supporting the various wildlife conservation initiatives in the SADC region.

The initial phase of the SADC TFCA FF is currently benefiting from investments worth €25 million from the German government. The COVID-19 package is part of the accelerated financing mechanisms under the financing facility. It aims to deal with the emergencies induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures put in place to contain it.

Areas of support under this program include protected areas and community reserves, tourism operations, alternative community livelihoods and related health support. The facility aims to adopt a demand-driven approach that will respond to emerging crises such as natural disasters and other emergencies that affect conservation operations in TFCAs.

The awards ceremony for communities close to the Maputo Special Reserve and the two remote parks of the Richtersveld and Mapungubwe National Parks in South Africa was held on May 3, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Directorate of the SADC Secretariat for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources (FANR), IUCN-ESARO, KfW and SADC Member States, namely the Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia. , South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania.

Partners such as the Delegation of the European Union to Botswana, the GIZ-CRNM project, the Embassy of the United States of America in Botswana, representatives of the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA) Biodiverse Landscapes Fund, the Peace Parks Foundation and South African National Parks (SANPARKS) were also present.

In his speech, Mr. Domingos Gove, Director of FANR at the SADC Secretariat, appreciated the flexibility shown by KfW and its partners in making available the €2 million COVID-19 relief package.

Mr. Nils Meyer from KfW underlined the importance of partnerships to address the challenges of biodiversity loss; destruction and fragmentation of ecosystems; and other pressures imposed on the environment by humans.

He said that in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the connection between people and nature has become more apparent and it has become more important to provide a funding program that helps people living in TFCAs to conserve biodiversity and maintain the integrity of SADC’s important ecosystems.

Mr. Meyer called on more International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) to invest in the SADC TFCA FF to achieve the €100 million target and contribute to sustainable financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation within SADCs TFCA.

Mr. Vhalinavho Kavhagali of IUCN reiterated his organization’s commitment to supporting critical interventions to mitigate the serious conservation threats posed by COVID-19.

Mr. Miguel Gonçalves, Park Manager, Maputo Special Reserve (ANAC), said the grant will complement another COVID-19 relief mechanism in the park supported by the World Bank and the MozBio Fund. The Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) has recognized how its partnership with ANAC in the Maputo Special Reserve contributes to conservation impacts on the ground.

SANPARKS Acting Managing Director, Mr. Dumisani Dlamini appreciated how the grants will contribute to the creation of short-term employment opportunities for the communities living around the two remote parks of Richtersveld and Mapungubwe National Parks, providing a immediate relief for loss of livelihood options as a result of the pandemic.

The Deputy Director General for Biodiversity Conservation at the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Ms Flora Mokgohloa, appreciated the COVID-19 package and reiterated the great need for additional funding to unlock the potential of TFCAs to contribute to biodiversity conservation. .

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