Transfrontier conservation areas: Integrating biodiversity and poverty alleviation in Southern Africa

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Sub-Saharan Africa continues to face the daunting challenge of alleviating poverty due to slow economic growth. In southern Africa, most countries are adopting policies that promote the integration of biodiversity conservation and rural development to contribute to rural poverty alleviation. Numerous approaches have been undertaken in this endeavour, including Transfrontier Parks (TFPs) and Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs). This paper discusses some of the limitations of the TFPs. In conclusion I posit that unlike TFPs, which are state controlled and managed, TFCAs, which promote multi-land use and multi-stakeholder participation are attainable and have a higher probability of sustaining biodiversity conservation and contributing to the alleviation of rural poverty, if: (i) areas of high biodiversity conservation within communal areas can be identified, zoned and leveraged to biodiversity conservation and managed in partnership between the communities and the private sector; (ii) local communities can secure legal rights to their customary land being devoted to biodiversity conservation and use such pieces of land as collateral in negotiating partnerships with the private sector in developing conservation-based enterprises; (iii) functional community natural resource governance institutions can be established and empowered to represent their constituencies in securing fair equity from profits made from sustainable use of the conserved biodiversity assets and tourism businesses; (iv) concerted effort can be invested in developing and implementing family planning and fertility reduction strategies that would slow down human population growth to levels that can be sustained by the available natural resources; and (v) if sustainable financing mechanisms can be developed, and the governance of protected areas occurring in the TFCAs can be broadened to include other stakeholders. Keywords: Biodiversity conservation, Transfrontier conservation areas, Poverty alleviation.

Publication Title:

Natural Resources Forum

Item Type:
Journal Article

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