IUCN strengthens biodiversity conservation drive



BEREA – The government, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, welcomed funding from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for the implementation of biodiversity conservation for the improvement of community livelihoods.

This is in response to the COVID-19 impact in the Maloti Drakensberg Trans-frontier Conservation Area (MDTFCA). The Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Maphakamile Xingwana, says the project seeks to address the dire consequences brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in the communities in and around the MDTFCA.

Following the economic shocks caused by COVID-19 and resulting in widespread income and job losses, thousands of MDTFCA households are said to have been pushed into poverty and food insecurity.

Xingwana said the government appreciated IUCN and partners for the SADC Transfrontier Conservation Areas Financing Facility (TFCA FF) project activities in favour of biodiversity conservation to improve community livelihoods following the pandemic.

The Ministry held a training session for Rangers, Conservation Practitioners, and Environmental Monitors in Berea on Monday this week, to sensitise them about their human rights.

Speaking at the training, Xingwana noted that most people impacted by COVID-19 have turned to nature for their survival, and some groups are taking advantage of these vulnerable communities.

She indicated that the project has engaged 300 community members for temporary conservation works such as wetlands rehabilitation, removal of invasive species, and fire control.

“Also, 25 environmental monitors were engaged to supplement field ranger capacity and law enforcement,” she added.

Since its inception this year, the project is said to have made a significant impact on the environment as well as the communities living within the MDTFCA.

The environmental and social management system specialist for the SADC TFCA Financing Facility, Kambili Chilufya, noted that although Lesotho implemented the project in 2023, the SADC Trans-frontier Conservation (TFCA) Financing Facility was established in April 2020.

He said it is a grant-making facility designed to support the development of TFCAS in the SADC region and is being executed and financed by the German government.

He further noted that the overall objective of the TFCA FF is to provide the basis for long-term and more sustainable investment in tangible measures that strengthen ecological, economic, cultural, and institutional connectivity within SADC TFCAs.

To manage environmental and social issues in line with the national laws and regulations in the respective host countries and in line with the requirements of International Environmental and Social Safeguard Standards, SADC representative Nunes Mazivile said the Transfrontier Conservation Areas Financing Facility (TFCA FF) has developed an Environmental and Social Management System (ESMS) that governs and guides TFCA FF-supported projects.

He explained that the ESMS covers the key risk areas that may be triggered by projects supported by the TFCA FF, including social risks and impacts related to law enforcement operations in the conservation context.

The purpose of the SADC TFCA FF is to invest in tangible measures that strengthen ecological, economic, cultural, and institutional connectivity within SADC TFCAs for the management of shared natural resources and sustainable development. The TFCA FF is designed as a programme that is open to a broad group of potential applicants who wish to receive grants for eligible measures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *