Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Hippopotamus, Chobe River, Botswana
Traditional Dancers, Namibia
Chobe River Sunset
Darter Chobe and Zambezi Rivers
Chili Production HWC, Namibia
Infrastructure development (Sioma Ngwezi HQ)
KAZA TFCA office-Sesheke Zambia (supported by WWF Netherlands and WWF Germany)
Impalas, Chobe National Park
Traditional Dancers, Botswana
Victoria Falls, Zambezi River, Zimbabwe
African Fish Eagle, Chobe River
Ngonye Falls, Visitor’s Center, Zambia (Supported by DGIS and PPF)
KAZA TFCA Landscapes
African Elephant, Chobe River, Botswana

Sustainable Use

In 1990 IUCN established a Specialist Group on “sustainable use” and developed guidelines for the utilisation of wild species.

The premise of this concept is that natural and wildlife resources must be utilised and exploited in a manner which ensures their continued availability indefinitely
and as such, wildlife and other wild resources are viewed as commercial commodities with their value reflected in monetary prices.

This concept therefore seeks to address the needs of human populations and their right to utilise resources for their benefit while
ensuring that those same resources are not driven to extinction.

Internationally, the concept of sustainable use is still a keenly debated one. On one extreme of the debate are those that believe that “sustainable use” ensures
conservation of a resource. At the other extreme, there are those that believe that this concept is a guise to exploit a species.

The KAZA TFCA partner countries agree that while they are liable for the wise use and preservation of living natural resources for future generations, their peoples equally have a right to use these resources for their benefit. This use must be guided by science and traditional knowledge, appropriate policies and adequate enforcement so as to prevent over exploitation of the resource.

Some of Southern Africa’s richest natural resources exist within the KAZA TFCA and are the source of its peoples basic livelihoods. Although the various ethnic groups have inhabited the landscape for thousands of years, there are still vast tracts that are largely pristine despite very low levels of use the natural resources that abound. In the last two centuries human population numbers have grown considerably with increasing herds of livestock and more sophisticated commercial farming practices – all of which have slowly begun to change the landscape.

The commercial extraction and harvesting of many natural resources is also impacting the various ecosystems in the region. The increased and unsustainable level of logging timber, netting of fish in the river systems, cutting trees for fuelwood and construction material, the harvesting of plant parts for medicines etc. all give cause for concern in the area.

The challenge for the KAZA authorities will be to outline what levels of harvesting and extraction may be permitted in order to enable sustainable use and development. Through this, monitoring and evaluation programmes will allow the five countries to track usage levels and to put in place management processes to control usage levels.

The Southern African Sustainable Use Specialist Group (SASUSG) has played a leading role in crafting the Sustainable Use principles currently accepted globally in international conventions such as the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) etc.

The key aspects of these new principles are:

  • to prioritise Sustainable Development and make Sustainable Use subsidiary;
  • to incorporate Complex Systems concepts into the approach to sustainability, to recognise uncertainty and to emphasize that adaptability, resilience and innovation are the key attributes that will enable people to modify behaviours in the face of the dramatic impending changes expected to affect the world in the near future;
  • to assert that the primary focus lies with Constituency Core Interests or local communities interests;
  • to shift the focus to the value of primary resources;
  • to accept that scale plays a key role in understanding sustainable use.