The Government of Chad Recommits to the Long-Term Protection of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem
The Government of Chad has renewed the agreement with African Parks for the management of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem to secure the long-term sustainability of this vitally important ecosystem.
N’Djamena, Chad: The Government of Chad has signed a revised agreement with conservation non-profit African Parks for the management of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem, an amendment to the existing mandate, which extends until 2027. Signed on Tuesday, June 7th, the revised agreement is a major commitment to nature and sustainable development in Chad, building on a legacy established under the late President Idriss Deby Itno to realise the full potential of the nation’s exceptional protected areas.
“The sustainability of our natural assets, specifically the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem is a strategic priority for national development. We are proud to be reaffirming our partnership with African Parks, with whom we have been working to create social and economic value for the protection of this unique landscape. We look forward to our continued partnership in cultivating nature-based tourism and ensuring that all Chadians may enjoy the benefits of this rich natural heritage,” said the Minister of Environment, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Mr. Mahamat Ahmat Lazina.
The revised agreement was signed on Tuesday, 7 June, during a ceremony attended by the Minister of Environment, Fisheries and Sustainable Development; the Minister of Development, Tourism and Handicrafts; the Minister of Culture and Promotion of Diversity; Advisors to the Presidency of the Republic of Chad and primacy; and African Parks’ Chief Operating Officer, Charles Wells. Representatives from the Delegation of the European Union and Embassies, including the German and South African, as well as partner organisations whose support has been instrumental, were also in attendance.
“Chad has become a model for conservation excellence, for the rehabilitation of their outstanding protected areas and leveraging their progress to drive sustainable socio-economic development. The renewal of our agreement for Zakouma further demonstrates Chad's unwavering commitment to this vision. We’re delighted to be embarking on this new chapter together, and look forward to continuing our close work with communities and funding partners who are central to the long-term success of this landscape,” said African Parks’ CEO, Peter Fearnhead.
Since the inception of the partnership for Zakouma in 2010, regional stability has improved, poaching is almost non-existent, elephant numbers are growing for the first time in decades, and the park is widely lauded as an unparalleled wildlife destination. In 2017, the Chadian Government formed the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem, incorporating Siniaka Minia Wildlife Reserve, Bahr Salamat Wildlife Reserve and connecting areas within African Parks’ mandate for Zakouma.
The revised management agreement will enable the Chadian Government, local communities and African Parks to continue building on this positive momentum. The core priorities for management will include ongoing biodiversity restoration initiatives, among them, the translocation and introduction of key species, and further development of tourism offerings to enhance financial sustainability and increase livelihood opportunities for the long-term benefit of local communities.
Notes to editors:
The overall management of the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem would not be possible without the support of: the Annenberg Foundation, the European Union, the Fondation Segré, the Silent Foundation, the Elephant Crisis Fund, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and the U.S. State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL).
About the Greater Zakouma Ecosystem: The Greater Zakouma Ecosystem, situated just south of the Sahara Desert and above the rainforest regions of the equator, is a unique Sudano-Sahelian wilderness that is refuge for some of the most important wildlife populations in Central and West Africa. The Republic of Chad partnered with African Parks for the management of Zakouma National Park in 2010, which was followed by the incorporation of the Siniaka Minia Wildlife Reserve, Bahr Salamat Wildlife Reserve, and their adjoining wildlife corridors within the mandate in 2017. Their partnership has given rise to one of Africa’s most astounding conservation success stories, whereby security has dramatically improved and not a single elephant poaching incident has been recorded in six years, resulting in their population growing by 40% since 2011. Not only are local communities also benefitting from improved security, but from the development of schools, employment opportunities and from Zakouma’s contribution through tourism to the local and national economy. In 2019, TIME magazine named Zakouma as one of the World’s Greatest Places. African Parks also works alongside the Chadian Government for the preservation of the biodiversity of Bahr-Aouk in south-eastern Chad.
About the Republic of Chad: The Republic of Chad is African Parks’ partner in the management of Greater Zakouma Ecosystem and Ennedi Natural and Cultural Reserve. The Chadian Government, on the advice of the European Union, approached African Parks in 2010 to take on the management responsibility of Zakouma in order to curtail the ongoing scourge of elephant poaching. The mandate agreement was signed in June 2010 and African Parks commenced management of the park and periphery in October of the same year. In 2017, the Government of the Republic of Chad signed a new agreement to expand the management and protection of a greater conservation area called 'Greater Zakouma' with Zakouma National Park at its core. In 2017, African Parks assumed management of Ennedi Natural and Cultural, a spectacular World Heritage Site.
About African Parks: African Parks is a non-profit conservation organisation that takes on the complete responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 19 national parks and protected areas in 11 countries covering over 14.7 million hectares in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. For more information visit www.africanparks.org, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook