Climate change aggravating human-wildlife conflict, private sector called to join the fight

The chronicle

business reporter

THE private sector has been urged to partner with the government to mitigate climate change-induced factors that are fueling human-animal conflict in communities living near national parks.

With such close cooperation with the private sector, the country will be able to mitigate the adverse livelihood impact of human-wildlife conflict through relief efforts for affected communities, a cabinet minister said.

Conflicts between wildlife, particularly elephant, lion, hyena, buffalo, crocodile, baboon and wild dog, are rampant in communities bordering national parks where villagers have killed livestock, crops and in some cases people at the hands of wild animals.

Experts say climate change factors are making the situation worse as humans and wildlife compete for limited resources like water and pasture to survive.

This has resulted in a significant drop in crop yields in some areas, while available grazing land for livestock is also decreasing due to decreasing rainfall.

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Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu told delegates attending a strategic planning workshop in Vumba on Wednesday that mitigating human-wildlife conflict is vital to improving livelihoods and the sustainability of the country tourism sector.

As such, he said that the principles for a new Parks and Wildlife Management Act have been finalized and that the provisions of the proposed new Act will help address various challenges in the sector and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (Zimparks) to enable greater sustainability and sustainable operations.

“We must find a lasting solution to the conflict between humans and animals. We are sitting on a time bomb and failure to provide assistance to our people and wildlife will have dire consequences,” he said.

“We also need to ensure that community benefits are enhanced as part of the new CAMPFIRE frameworks.”

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Ndlovu said the ministry’s legal team should expedite synchronizing the new law with the new proposed Statutory Instrument on CAMPFIRE.

He said the country continues to receive notable support from international collaborative partners in environmental, climate and tourism programs.

“Zimbabwe has been allocated US$13.2 million from the 8th cycle of the Global Environment Facility, in addition to significant amounts in previous cycles,” the minister said.

“These resources have been used in various landscapes across the country to address environmental and livelihood issues. With the 8th GEF Cycle, it is now a matter of ensuring we build a stronger and sustainable biodiversity economy in Zimbabwe while ensuring we meet our national and international environmental commitments and targets.”

Ndlovu said the impacts of climate change have the potential to slow down the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 and other climate-related policies and commitments such as the National Determined Contribution and the National Adaptation Plan.

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In response, he said mainstreaming climate change to climate-proof all socio-economic sectors in the country has been the ministry’s main thrust.

Time and resources have been invested in national adaptation planning to direct the response to improve climate change adaptation across the country.

The private sector has also been asked to use funds for climate protection measures.

“There is a need to mobilize international climate finance to complement government funding. Our local private sector can also play an important role if we strategically plan and engage them as we move forward. I’m pleased to learn that FBC Bank has taken the lead to support the Department in this endeavor and I hope we get other stakeholders on board,” he said.

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