LUSAKA – On September 23, the U.S. government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Zambia’s Ministry of Tourism and Arts to improve wildlife management and combat illegal wildlife trade in Zambia. The MOU is a non-binding framework outlining mutual commitments to protect wildlife and strengthen Zambia’s wildlife management, which supports the country’s natural capital heritage, environmental integrity, and local and national economic development.
The U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), U.S. Department of State, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs, is helping Zambia to protect its wildlife and wild spaces. The signed MOU will accelerate U.S. funding allocations and training opportunities, including K9 million ($450,000) for technical assistance to Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), training opportunities for DNPW staff at the U.S. International Law Enforcement Regional Academy in Botswana, and support to the Zambia National Community Resources Board Association to improve revenue sharing models that increases community commitment to wildlife management and maximize tax benefits for local communities and the government.
Through USAID, the U.S. government plans to invest more than K800 million ($40 million) over the next five years for new awards in biodiversity and forest conservation. The USAID Health, Ecosystems, and Agriculture for Resilient Thriving Societies (HEARTH) project will combine $20 million in USAID funding with over $20 million in matching funds from the private sector to support biodiversity in Game Management Areas (GMAs) around Kafue National Parks and Luangwa Valley. The USAID Business Enabling Environment project, currently in development with the Zambian government, will streamline policy implementation in the agriculture, energy, forest, tourism, trade and wildlife sectors to encourage private sector investment and growth.
U.S. government investments through USAID also support community action for wildlife protection with community scouts trained in the Kafue landscape increasing recoveries of illegal wildlife products and poaching materials in the Mumbwa and Namwala GMAs. During 2014-2019, USAID’s Community Forests Program improved natural resource management, reduced poverty through sustainable community-based livelihoods and forest-based enterprises, and built local and national capacity of government and non-government stakeholders and institutions throughout target communities in Zambia’s Eastern, Lusaka, and Muchinga provinces.
The U.S. Department of State funds anti-poaching and criminal justice initiatives to support the Zambian government’s efforts to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking, working with partners to provide equipment for rangers and to support intelligence gathering and investigations. It also administers specialized trainings to strengthen the operational capacity of law enforcement officers to investigate wildlife crimes and indirectly supports Conservation Lower Zambezi, Conservation South Luangwa, African Parks, and Trident through subgrants to support their conservation efforts throughout Zambia.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) supports projects implemented by Frankfurt Zoological Society in southern Lake Tanganyika, Conservation South Luangwa in the Luangwa Valley, and Conservation Lower Zambezi operating in the Lower Zambezi to reduce illegal wildlife trade. USFWS also works with Wildlife Crime Prevention in providing program funding throughout the region to ensure the security of Zambia’s treasured wildlife and habitats.