Since the signing of the MoU, some of the key achievements to date include the following:
● The MoU created an institutional framework within which the development of the TFCA would take place (refer Section 2.3.1 for further details) – various meetings were held by the Bilateral Ministerial Committee (BMC), Bilateral Technical Committee (BTC), Bilateral Working Group and local stakeholders.
● Key documents have been prepared including:
– Nyika TFCA Joint Management Plan, 2007 (approval by the BMC)
– Nyika TFCA Integrated Tourism Development Plan, 2006 (approval by the BMC)
– Project Plans for Nyika TFCA and Kasungu-Lukusuzi TFCA
– Draft Treaty cleared by the respective Ministries of Justice and pending cabinet submission
● Sourcing of funding (refer Table 4) and concomitant implementation – key activities include:
– Establishing dedicated institutional arrangements for implementation of specific projects (refer Nyika TFCA Project)
– Operations including:
Joint law enforcement to combat poaching in the Nyika national parks
Based on the foregoing achievements a baseline performance audit was undertaken for the Malawi-Zambia TFCAin terms of the TFCA Development Approach. The current TFCA development performance of the Malawi-Zambia TFCA is 19%, with the best performance being in the Joint Planningand Institutional Arrangements KPAs with an individual score of50% respectively. A score of 25% was attained for Sustaining and Restoring Landscape Dynamics and 28% regarding Integrated Development, yet the rest of the KPAs require attention (refer Table 5 for summary and Appendix 4 for detail balanced score card).
These scores, at the time of the drafting of the IDP, reflect that a lot of planning has been undertaken and that the conservation environment within which the Malawi-Zambia TFCA operates is known and understood, yet that specific actions regarding the creation of a conducive environment for ecotourism development and the securing of sufficient financial resources to sustain the TFCA efforts need to be undertaken.
Efforts to integrate conservation management also require attention, especially when the functioning of the ecosystem transcends international boundaries. This area requires conscious deliberation and decisions to ensure that the actions undertaken by conservation agencies attain the specific objectives set for the TFCA.
TFCAs have the opportunity to provide substantial benefit to the communities affected by the conservation initiatives implemented. However, these benefits to the region and its people are often overlooked due to political pressure requiring focus to be mainly placed on poverty alleviation and job creation, albeit that both of which are crucially important. By broadening the review of the benefits of conservation initiatives, to include aspects such as, inter alia, the ecosystem service value, direct foreign investment value, environmental education and awareness, ecotourism investment opportunities, community equity in conservation related development programmes, access to natural and cultural resources and the use thereof, and measuring, monitoring and evaluating these over time, a true reflection of the benefits of conservation can be gained.
It is thus evident that a balanced approach to developing the Malawi-Zambia TFCA is required.
Further performance measurement in respect of the IDP and its supporting operational plans and progress regarding the development of the Malawi-Zambia TFCA will thus build forth on the foregoing baseline. Assessments will rely on consensus among the two TFCA partner countries regarding the understanding of the indicators.