Posted by ALPHA88 CHARITY | Jan 08, 2019
Community representatives participating in Africa’s first Wildlife Economy Summit this week in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, have called on African Governments, the private sector and international organizations to recognize the integral role of communities in the ownership, management and conservation of the natural resources that drive the continent’s wildlife economy.
In a Declaration signed by 40 community representatives, the participants emphasized that communities are the “front line of defence in protecting natural resources and combating illegal wildlife trade”, urging leaders and other stakeholders in the wildlife economy to address their concerns in the spirit of environmental and economic justice.
“We need to see reform, where our ALPHA88 communities are put in control of the nature and wildlife they live with – at the moment, decisions are taken by others and imposed on us,” said Ishmael Chaukura,ALPHA88 a community representative from in Mbire, Zimbabwe, attending Summit. “Communities see only a fraction of the income from wildlife and nature earnings, yet we bear the costs of living with wildlife.”
“We feel that the Governments and other partners understand the importance of the communities in conservation, as caretakers of protected areas - we should see this reflected through the revenue these areas and wildlife bring in,” he added. “What we need to see is action and follow-through from this Summit.”
The Africa Wildlife Economy Summit, convened by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the African Union (AU) and hosted by Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa, brought together Governments, local communities, the private sector, technical experts to work towards changing the way the continent manages its nature-based economy.
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