Peace Parks has been supporting the development of the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area since its inception in 2004. Here to talk about it with Peace Parks CEO, Werner Myburgh, are Dr. Nyambe Nyambe, Executive Director of Kavango Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area Secretariat, and Nils Meyer, Senior Project Manager from KfW, who handles funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Kavango Zambezi, or KAZA, is the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area (TFCA), brought into existence by the signing of a treaty between five partners countries: Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Situated in the Kavango and Zambezi river basins where the borders of these countries converge, the TFCA spans an area of around 52 million ha, just a little smaller that the size of France! The area includes 36 proclaimed protected areas such as national parks, game reserves, forest reserves, community conservancies and game/wildlife management areas. Not to mention two of Africa’s biggest tourist attractions and both World Heritage Sites – The Victoria Falls and the Okavango Delta.

Founded on the spirit of collaboration and understanding between the partner states, this collaboration has seen governmental policies harmonise to reach together for a shared vision of creating a world class region that benefits all within the area. There are endless transboundary opportunities for investment and implementation of initiatives in this area, from supporting climate-smart agriculture to ensuring food security, developing infrastructure to initiatives for education and healthcare. Probably the greatest challenge at this moment, however, is facilitating tourist movement across borders and managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the non-traditional health sectors.

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development is the major funder of the KAZA TFCA, through KfW. As implementing agent for KfW funding in this TFCA, Peace Parks continues to support the KAZA Secretariat to manage project funds and provide technical support through the KAZA Secretariat Support Group and the various Working Groups. Meyer, who has worked across many projects in southern Africa, recognises that implementing initiatives within KAZA requires a lot of trust between countries, and he credits much of the groundbreaking liaison work that has been done to date to the passion and commitment of all partners, not least Peace Parks Foundation. As a well-connected, respected partner with a real desire for change for the region, Peace Parks Foundation continues to open doors and ears to help with the real and urgent need for investment for KAZA.

Much of KAZA’s success to date has sprung from working with non-traditional partners, an area in which Peace Parks Foundation is well versed. Alongside this, a holistic approach, regarding the landscape in its totality, is what is required, Myburgh believes, to effect the change KAZA hopes for and deserves.