Minister of Tourism and Arts, Hon. Ronald Chitotela Attends Inaugural Event for Priority Support Plan in Kafue National Park, Zambia
Lusaka, Zambia: On Monday, May 10th, Minister of Tourism and Arts Hon. Ronald K. Chitotela attended an inaugural event in Kafue National Park to mark the implementation of the Priority Support Plan, lauding the first steps taken within the initiative to boost Kafue’s social, ecological and economic potential. The event saw the official hand-over of motor vehicles, air assets and equipment for the conservation and management of Kafue National Park, valued at more than US$600,000.
Announced in February this year, the Priority Support Plan is a collaboration between the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and African Parks, aimed at increasing technical and financial support for Kafue, worth US$3.4 million over a period of 12 months.
The Minister said Government takes great pride in the progress that has already been achieved these past two months, and remains committed to the further advancement of this extraordinary wildlife sanctuary and the communities surrounding it.
Key developments include the procurement of five vehicles, the delivery of a helicopter and aircraft to enhance surveillance, the installation of two aircraft hangars, and upgrades for offices, utilities and access routes. During the event, African Parks handed over a cheque to cover the salaries of law enforcement officers at Kafue for the first quarter of 2021.
The Ministry of Tourism Permanent Secretary Patrick Lungu, who accompanied the Minister at the event, said the support will go a long way in restoring biodiversity within and around the Kafue landscape.
African Parks’ Chief Executive Officer Peter Fearnhead said the Kafue National Park and other parks in the country have the potential to grow, thus African Parks is committed to supporting the Zambian Government. He commented, “We thank the Government of Zambia for this opportunity, and look forward to working closely together to realise Kafue’s full potential as a long-term economic asset for Zambia and a healthy ecosystem with far-reaching benefits for people in the KAZA TFCA region”.
At 22,400 km2, Kafue National Park is one of the ten largest protected areas in Africa, and represents a crucial opportunity to conserve significant populations of savannah wildlife, preserve an essential source of fresh water for Zambia, and contribute substantially to the nation’s tourism economy.
The park is situated in the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area, the Kavango Zambezi (KAZA TFCA), which straddles the boundaries of five countries, forming one cross-border ecosystem the size of France. The Priority Support Plan for Kafue is funded through the Dutch Postcode Lottery’s dreamfund grant, a 16.9 million Euro contribution awarded to the World Wide Fund for Nature, African Parks and Peace Parks Foundation to assist KAZA partner states in securing the TFCA through integrated initiatives.
Notes for Editors:
- On February 4th 2021, the Government of Zambia and African Parks signed a memorandum of understanding to initiate the Priority Support Plan, which would see investment in a set of priority actions for the protection and development of Kafue National Park, involving close cooperation with local communities, The Nature Conservancy, and other conservation organisations and tourism operators. Read the full press release here.
- Kafue’s Priority Support Plan follows a successful 18-year partnership between the Government of Zambia and African Parks, beginning in 2003 with Liuwa Plain National Park and subsequently, in 2008 with the Bangweulu Wetlands.
- About Zambia’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW): The Zambian DNPW works to protect and conserve Zambia’s wildlife estates and to improve the quality of life among communities and maintain sustainable biodiversity. The DNPW partnered with African Parks in Liuwa Plain National Park in 2003 and in the Bangweulu Wetlands in 2008.
- 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 and protected areas in partnership with governments and local communities. African Parks manages 19 national parks and protected areas covering over 14.7 million hectares in 11 countries: Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Zambia. Visit www.africanparks.org to learn more.