HEADS of State and Cabinet ministers from at least 30 African countries have registered to take part in the inaugural African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) Wildlife Economy Summit to be held in Victoria Falls from 23-25 June.
Close to 500 delegates from across the world are expected to descend on the resort town of Victoria Falls for the summit, which will provide a platform to share strategies on leveraging wildlife resources to turn around African economies.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, Prisca Mupfumira, believes the inaugural AU/UN Wildlife Summit presents nations under the Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), an opportunity to share views on unlocking value from wildlife.
KAZA is situated where the national borders of five countries converge — being the upper Zambezi River and Okavango basins and Delta, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the south eastern part of Angola, south western Zambia, the northern wild lands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe. It is home to 61 percent of the world elephant population.
“We are happy to host the first ever AU-UN Africa Wildlife Summit. We are looking forward to having a successful conference. As you are aware Zimbabwe is in the KAZA region and KAZA boasts of hosting over 60 percent of the world’s elephant population,” Minister Mupfumira said.
The Victoria Falls summit will provide a platform to share strategies on leveraging wildlife resources to turn around African economies.
“We will discuss how wildlife impacts the ordinary people, how we can manage human-wildlife conflict.
“We want to come up with resolutions, which will be good for conservation and make sure people living with wildlife also benefit. So these are some of the issues we will be discussing.
“There will be various international speakers and of course our own Zimbabweans will contribute in the deliberations,” said the minister.
Elephants are arguably a symbol of success in conservation strategies in the region and a key draw card to the tourism industry.
The summit is most opportune to reflect on this important species as well as recalibrate strategies to ensure that appropriate benefits accrue to nations and respective communities.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was a key speaker at the recent Kasane Elephant Summit in Botswana, will be among the Heads of States gracing the Victoria Falls summit.
At the Kasane Elephant Summit, KAZA members worked to develop a common position on elephant management and to speak with one voice on behalf of communities.
At that summit President Mnangagwa called on the international community to enable nations to trade and better benefit from their natural endowments so that they may “help to eradicate poverty, empower our citizens and improve the quality of life for rural communities”.
The ‘one size fits all approach’ of banning everything under CITES is neither sustainable nor desirable, said the President.