The Sunday Mail
ZIMBABWE Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZimParks), represented by its director general Mr Fulton Upenyu Mangwanya, recently received the Green Era Award for Sustainability at the Green Economy Forum held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Berlin, Germany.
The ceremony was held on July 14/15, 2019.
lt put Zimbabwe under the spotlight for leading the way in terms of employing environmentally friendly methods.
More than half of ZimParks’ waterholes in Hwange, previously powered using diesel engines, have now been converted to solar power as part of the authority’s green efforts. This move has helped cut down on gas emissions as well as reduce noise pollution in the sprawling game park.
Hwange’s water wholly comes from a borehole.
But some may ask what this Green Era Award for Sustainability is. This is an award which recognises sustainable practices and green initiatives at a global level. The benchmarks considered for Green Era Award nomination include but are not limited to energy efficiency, creativity and innovation, sustainable use of renewable energy/resources, and economic, social and environmental impact.
The award is supported by Otherways’ International Award-Acknowledgment Programme, which is based on a business-oriented association focussing on recognition of institutions and individuals that are taking significant steps to promote a green economy. Beyond recognition, it also promotes economic relations, networking of progression institutions and facilitates the establishment of new linkages as well as professional contacts.
ZimParks also earned this award through significant strides made in contribution to the transition towards a resource-efficient and low-carbon Zimbabwe, and Southern Africa as a whole. As an institution that is responsible for managing over 13 percent of Zimbabwe’s land area, mainstreaming green initiatives has become part of ZimParks’ deliberate strategy.
The parks authority has the national mandate of conserving Zimbabwe’s flora and fauna for the benefit of present and future generations. As a global leader in sustainable conservation, ZimParks’ sphere of influence and impact is far-reaching.
ZimParks is actively involved in the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), running of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and enforcing the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). It also oversees protected areas comprising six different categories, that is, 11 national parks, 17 recreational parks, 16 safari areas, six sanctuaries, 12 botanical reserves and three botanical gardens.
The foundation of Zimbabwe’s conservation agenda is grounded in science and sustainability, involving action at every level from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both wildlife and habitat, and also promoting a harmonious relationship between people and nature.
(i) Protecting natural ecosystems and wild populations of plants and animals, including endangered species; promoting sustainable approaches to the use of renewable natural resources; and
(ii) Promoting efficient use of natural resources and energy, and the maximum reduction of pollution;
(iii) Minimising environmental degradation and promoting sustainable utilisation of wildlife resources whilst contributing to national targets for the attainment of sustainable development goals as well as Africa’s vision 2030;
(iv) Promoting green investments and sustainable tourism in Zimbabwe’s protected area network to generate revenue for conservation.
What is a Green Economy?
A green economy is defined as low carbon, resource-efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by both public and private investment.
Investments into infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Through the implementation of ZimParks Strategic Plan for 2019-2023, ZimParks is promoting a development path that recognises natural capital as a critical economic asset and a source of public benefits, especially for poor people whose livelihoods depend on natural resources, in line with UN Environment goals and other higher-order objectives.
For ZimParks, the notion of greening does not necessarily replace the sustainable development agenda, but creates a new focus on responsible investments for conservation, capital and green infrastructure, harnessing essential skills and innovation to achieve positive social and environmental outcomes.
ZimParks is getting greener
Growth and development of ZimParks is anchored on the need for enhancement of environmental, social and economic resources, with all three of them being critical to meet the needs of current and future generations as far as biodiversity conservation, particularly wildlife is concerned. ZimParks is promoting investments in green sectors aimed at restoration and maintenance of natural resources as well as increasing efficiency in their use. These investments result in the creation of jobs, generation of income and development of new markets, less emissions which benefit the Zimbabwean economy.
ZimParks has improved in the following areas:
(i) The new strategic plan for ZimParks provides key enablers and conditions for a green economy transition and is prescriptive in low-impact on the environment;
(ii) An increase in the use of green energy such as solar, throughout the parks estate;
(iii) Contributing to the decoupling of economic growth from resource use and environmental impact from developments in the protected areas and surrounding areas, particularly in Transfrontier Conservation Areas landscapes;
(iv) An increase in public and private investment going into green tourism infrastructure throughout the protected area network;
(v) A changing trend in consumption in which the use of environmentally friendly products and services is increasing. ZimParks makes use of a suppliers’ list and such suppliers are encouraged to be environmentally friendly in their production systems;
(vi) Promotion of investment and spending in areas that stimulate a Green Economy at national level, for instance, in technology, infrastructure and several other climate-smart small and medium enterprises;
(vii) Introducing punitive measures in areas and activities that may contribute to depletion of natural capital, for example, the extractive industry whose activities are not encouraged inside protected areas and any necessary operations should have biodiversity offsets following the polluter-pays-principle;
(viii) Strengthening the ZimParks regulatory framework to introduce more deterrents for environmentally damaging activities including poaching of endangered keystone species, creating incentives, to encourage compliance in the conservation industry;
(ix) Addressing environmental externalities from infrastructural developments inside the protected areas, revising the tariff structure and concession fees through consideration of market-based instruments that promote green investment and innovation;
(x) Strengthening international governance of wildlife and habitat resources in areas where international and multilateral mechanisms regulate economic activities such as our natural world heritage sites, in addition to national laws. Other supporting actions are therefore needed to increase capacity and strengthen institutions, provide training and skill enhancement to the workforce, and improve general education on sustainability;
(xi) Multi-stakeholder partnerships for the promotion of businesses that are beneficial to local communities are supported by ZimParks;
(xii) Acceleration and consolidation of sustainable changes in all systems.