The Gaborone Declaration for Sustainability in Africa (GDSA) has welcomed the US$60 million commitment by GDSA Associate Member Angola to clear landmines in two key national parks that form part of southern Africa’s 520,000-square-kilometer biodiversity-rich Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA).
Angola’s Environment Minister Paula Francisco Coelho announced the five-year commitment on June 17 to clear minefields in Luengue-Luiana and Mavinga national parks in the country’s southeastern province of Cuando Cubango.
GDSA’s Executive Secretary Ruud Jansen said the move will enhance efforts to unlock significant ecotourism opportunities to benefit Angolans while supporting conservation and sustainable use of the region’s natural resources.
“The GDSA and Conservation International have recently started a natural capital mapping and fresh water health index assessment in the upper reaches of the Quito and Cuando river basins in Angola as part of our cooperation with the government of Angola, National Geographic Society, the Wild Bird Trust and other organizations.. We hope that this activation exercise will be extended to cover other parts of the Okavango Basin and the KAZA landscape,” he said.
“Doing so would support further efforts of natural resource mapping, ecosystem management and restoration which will also support the development potential of Mavinga and Luengwe-Luiana National Parks for enhanced biodiversity and sustainable tourism.”
Mr. Jansen said that the clearance of landmines holds he potential to re-establish a “wildlife corridor” between northern Botswana and southern Angola through the Namibian Caprivi strip and ease the elephant population pressure in Botswana while allowing enhanced anti-poaching efforts to minimize biodiversity loss in the region.
KAZA TFCA was set up in 2011 by Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe to manage the vast cross-border area through conservation and sustainable tourism while allowing wildlife, including elephants, to move freely across national frontiers.
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