President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Friday morning presided over the signing of a co-management agreement between the Malawi Government and Peace Parks Foundation (PPF) at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe. The agreement marks a significant milestone in the conservation efforts of Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh.
Addressing the gathering, President Chakwera highlighted the economic challenges faced by Malawi, emphasizing low productivity and fraud as primary obstacles to the country’s development. He expressed his administration’s commitment to building a legitimate economy and combating these issues head-on.
The Malawi leader stressed the importance of the tourism sector, revealing that 70% of Malawi’s tourism is nature-based. He affirmed his full support for the co-management agreement, emphasizing the need to protect wildlife, combat illegal wildlife trade and poaching, and increase revenue generation in the tourism sector.
The Peace Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 1997 by Dr. Anton Rupert, former President Nelson Mandela, and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, aims to promote biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage, and regional peace and stability by establishing transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) or “peace parks” in southern Africa. PPF works closely with governments, private sector partners, and local communities to establish and manage these conservation areas.
Over the years, PPF has successfully facilitated the establishment of 10 TFCAs in southern Africa, encompassing over 1 million square kilometers of land. Notable examples include the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA), the Khomani San / Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, and the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area.
During the signing ceremony, Werner Myburgh, speaking on behalf of Peace Parks, expressed gratitude to the Malawi Government for their support and leadership. He emphasized the importance of this partnership in combating illegal activities within the protected areas and fostering community development and environmental preservation.
Former President of Mozambique and Vice Chairman of TFCAs Joachim Chisano, present at the event, expressed his honor in witnessing the signing of the agreement. He acknowledged the significance of the co-management initiative in facilitating a harmonious coexistence between humans and nature, ensuring the conservation of the parks for the benefit of the local communities.
The signing of the co-management agreement represents a significant step forward in Malawi’s conservation efforts and underscores the country’s commitment to protecting its natural heritage and promoting sustainable tourism.