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Climate Change Adaptation in SADC Trans-frontier Conservation Areas Project

Initiated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the SADC/GIZ Transboundary Protection and Use of Natural Resources Programme, this project engages park managers and community leaders in Trans-frontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in public participation in caring for the Earth through climate change adaptation and mitigation actions relevant to the TFCAs. The project aims to enhance knowledge, skills and agency (purposive action) among stakeholders in these important biodiversity zones to build resilience in human livelihoods and ecosystems against climate change impacts. 

Forty champions from all 18 TFCAs in SADC participated in courses that ran from October 2013 to January 2014. They have started implementing change projects that have been negotiated between them, the communities in their parks, and most importantly with the cross-border park stakeholders in the neighbouring nations.

Results so far are varied, with some TFCAs more accessible as they have a Treaty in place (Category A), while in others there are policy barriers with no agreements signed at all (Category C). However, for all TFCA categories including Category B (with a Memorandum of Agreement signed), one early achievement of the course was the general feeling that “we have finally been able to meet and start some actions together”. Project champions are making considerable efforts to engage multiple stakeholders in actions such as mitigating sea level rise and coral bleaching caused by rising ocean temperatures in the Western Indian Ocean TFCA (Mauritius and Seychelles). Children in schools, women groups and professional scientists have found themselves coming together in learning about and engaging in monitoring ocean temperatures and restoring ecological infrastructure such as planting mangroves to shield beaches from higher and stronger tides. Others have met with counterparts across borders to explore common actions, such as in the Lower Zambezi-Mana Pools TFCA between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The project continues to November 2014. Higher order social change processes take time and are sometimes difficult to measure, but many stories of change are beginning to emerge. Active citizens are making a difference through small actions that combine the use of climate science, citizen science tools and traditional knowledge to improve lives. By engaging people to work out cross-border solutions to common challenges, using a climate change lens, this project contributes to regional integration and peace.

Project contact details

Tich Pesanyi, SADC/Government Programme Manager
Tel 033 330 3931 ext 2165
Cell 082 412 2129