The inclusive conservation of natural resources, including REDD+ Projects should be implemented in an inclusive and transparent manner, with respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities and with consideration for the protection of biodiversity, Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) has said
“The lack of community engagement, inclusion and access to information is affecting the sustainable conservation of wildlife and forest resources in Zimbabwe,” said Frank Mpahlo, TIZ’s Climate Governance Project Coordinator.
Mpahlo underscored the importance of prioritising REDD+ safeguards in areas like Mbire, which falls under the Kariba REDD+ Project being undertaken by Carbon Green Africa.
“It is encouraging news that the government has embarked on a REDD+ Project in the Hwange Sanyati Biodiversity Corridor (HSBC). To successfully implement the project, there needs to be consistent and inclusive community consultation in decision making processes, access to information on carbon and non-carbon benefits of the project and adherence to environmental rule of law.”
The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) on Thursday said 63 percent of disputes related to private sector land and natural resource investments in Africa began when communities were forced to leave their lands.
RRI cited a new research released by TMP Systems and the Rights and Resources Initiative, which said:
“African governments are competing for investment to spur economic development and improve living standards. But most countries need to radically improve the governance of tenure rights to create an attractive and stable investment environment. Companies and investors—who increasingly understand that unclear tenure rights create financial and reputational risks—need to do more to identify and respond to these implicit challenges in emerging market investments.”
The research also found that areas targeted for development in Africa are more heavily populated than similar developments elsewhere in the world. The population density within a 50-kilometer radius of disputed projects in Africa was more than twice the global average: 816,547 people compared with 319,426 globally. For West Africa, the average was over 1 million people.
“The mistaken belief that Africa is a continent of empty, freely available land open for development has done so much harm,” said RRI Coordinator Andy White. “No land is unclaimed, and uprooting communities without their consent from their lands and traditional livelihoods creates conflicts and social unrest. Recognizing and securing local peoples’ property rights instead provides security for governments, investors and companies—a critical need, given all the political uncertainty in the world today.”
According tot the Commercial Farmers’ Union, the European Union (EU) provided $20 million to resuscitate Campfire projects and capacitate indigenous beneficiaries at Save Valley Conservancy in Masvingo province under a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA), which the EU has undertaken to support.
This shows it is important to support communities around conservancies to ensure that there is no conflict. As long as the community sees value and accruing benefits from the conservancies, there won’t be any conflict between people and wildlife.
Section (b) of the 16th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP16) of 2010 delineates the need for transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty.