On September 21, 2023, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) convened two events on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City: a Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Leadership Reception and a Parliamentarian Meeting on KAZA Collaboration Strategy.

On September 21, 2023, the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF) convened two events on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City: a Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) Leadership Reception and a Parliamentarian Meeting on KAZA Collaboration Strategy.

The ICCF Group has been engaged in the KAZA TFCA since 2012, supporting the parliamentary conservation caucuses established in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, with strong parliamentary engagement ongoing in Angola since 2017.

Through this engagement, policymakers are empowered to build political will, advance conservation governance, and promote inter-parliamentary collaboration and cooperation.

The ICCF Group and partner Oak Foundation developed Project Safe Passage, an initiative to boost conservation work within the Zambezi and Greater Kruger landscapes, focusing on countering the illegal wildlife trade, social impact, and research. Project Safe Passage facilitates support and builds partnerships with NGOs and government authorities that approach problems in innovative and systematic ways to increase the security of wildlife and the resiliency of communities within key areas of transfrontier conservation like KAZA. The project works across a platform of numerous grassroots organizations through a bottom-up approach, considering the gaps, needs, and challenges of local governments, communities, and wildlife.

Key participants in the parliamentary working group meeting included:

  • Honorable Lourdes Fernandes, Vice President of the 3rd Commission in the National Assembly of Angola
  • Honorable Lourdes Fernandes, Vice President of the 3rd Commission in the National Assembly of Angola
  • Honorable Wynter Mmolotsi, Co-Chair of the Botswana Conservation Parliamentary Caucus
  • Honorable Wynter Mmolotsi, Co-Chair of the Botswana Conservation Parliamentary Caucus
  • Honorable Wynter Mmolotsi, Co-Chair of the Botswana Conservation Parliamentary Caucus
  • Honorable Wynter Mmolotsi, Co-Chair of the Botswana Conservation Parliamentary Caucus
  • Honorable Kennedy !Haoseb, Member of the 6th National Council of Namibia
  • Honorable Twaambo Mutinta, Co-Chair of the Zambian Parliamentary Caucus on the Environment and Climate Change
  • Honorable Imanga Wamunyima, Member of the Executive Committee of the Zambian Parliamentary Caucus on the Environment and Climate Change
  • Dr. Nyambe Nyambe, Executive Director of the KAZA TFCA Secretariat

The meeting focused on oversight and accountability with regard to the KAZA Treaty signing and ratification, as well as international cooperation and collaboration. It concluded with parliamentary conservation caucus members agreeing to a Collaboration Strategy to Facilitate the KAZA TFCA Treaty, which included three overarching topics:

  • Educational Sessions and Institutional Frameworks
  • National Steering Committee Oversight and Accountability
  • Communication and Information Sharing (Local, National, and International).

The KAZA Leadership Reception was led by the President of the Republic of Botswana and Heads of Delegations from KAZA countries and included leadership from the parliamentary conservation caucuses in the KAZA countries. ICCF was joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Environment of Angola, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of Lands and Water Affairs, and Minister of Environment and Tourism of Botswana, and the Ambassador of Botswana to the United States and the Permanent Representative of Botswana to the United Nations.

One of the key objectives of the KAZA Leadership Reception was for governments to recognize the achievement in the development of the KAZA TFCA, alongside its unique opportunities and challenges. This requires balancing the needs of the region’s 2.7 million people, mostly subsistence farmers, with those of the region’s wildlife, whose survival and success hinges on the integrity and connectivity of their habitats. The remarks made at the KAZA Leadership Reception called for action by KAZA governments, leveraging parliamentary conservation caucuses, to inspire deeper cross-border collaboration, whilst respecting the sovereignty of the constituent states.

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