Malawi-Zambia sign conservation pact
President Peter Mutharika and his Zambian counterpart, Edgar Lungu, yesterday signed a treaty which will see the two countries working together in conserving natural resources along their borders.
Speaking after signing the treaty at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre, Mutharika said the Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) Treaty is of mutual socio-economic benefits to the two governments and their people, particularly those living within and adjacent to the TFCA.
Mutharika described the treaty as the tie that binds and another symbolic landmark in the development of the citizens of the two countries and the natural resources that God blessed them with.
“A prudent conservation, management and development of the vast wildlife, tourism and cultural resources of the area will pay economic dividends to our people. Proper conservation and management of our resources boosts tourism revenues for border communities in particular, and our two nations significantly,” Mutharika said.
He said the right to utilise natural resources comes with the obligation of doing so in a responsible manner.
“We can only utilise these natural their welfare and their continued existence for posterity. It is, therefore, of critical importance that the natural ecosystems and the rich biodiversity along the international boundaries of Malawi and Zambia are conserved and managed in a coherent approach ensured by this Treaty. Protection of nature is a human obligation,” he said.
Taking his turn Lungu, who said the treaty signing is not the end, assured the people of the two nations that the two Presidents will ensure that the treaty achieves its intended purpose.
He said there is a lot of deforestation in the two countries and there is need for a strict joint effort to save the natural resources.
“For the short period President Mutharika and I have been in our respective offices, we have tried to use practical approach to issues. Every time we meet, we ask each other, what are we doing for the people who brought us here? We will make sure that we achieve what we have signed for,” Lungu said.
Vice Chairperson for Peace Parks Foundation, a body which envisages the establishment of a network of protected areas that links ecosystems across international borders, former Mocambican president, Joachim Chissano, said for the treaty to realise its tourism potential it will require the continued support from the two leaders.
Chissano who lamented the huge loss of wildlife including elephants and rhinoceros within the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region said there are 18 existing potential TFCA in the region.
Charge d’Affaire at Germany Embassy, Anne-Kafrin Pfeirffer, said conservation areas are not only about the conservation of nature but are also about physical and economic survival of millions of people due to the important environmental services they provide.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) towards the TFCA’s establishment was signed on 13 August 2004 but the signing delayed due to disagreements between the parties on the institutional framework and change of leaderships in the two governments, according to Malawi’s Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture Kondwani Nankhumwa.
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