Earth Day 2022 - USAID Launches the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance

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Friday, April 22, 2022
Subject 
USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras' Remarks at the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance Launch
Sheryl Stumbras (center) launches the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance with Zambian government and private sector partnerships.
Sheryl Stumbras (center) launches the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance with Zambian government and private sector partnerships.
Morgan Siddle USAID/Zambia

Good morning. On behalf of the United States government, I am delighted to officially launch  the USAID Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance and to support its goal of reducing rural poverty through partnerships that promote sustainable natural resources management.

I thank the Government of the Republic of Zambia for joining USAID, The Nature Conservancy, Kashikoto Conservancy Limited, and Amatheon AGRI Zambia Limited in convening this milestone event. The United States shares your vision of a prosperous Zambia, and we believe the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance will play a key role in helping realize this vision.

What better day to launch this Alliance than Earth Day? A day to celebrate the environmental movement, and raise awareness about ways that we can protect our Earth and its natural resources. The Earth Day 2022 theme is “Invest In Our Planet. What Will You Do?” The Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance is one of the ways we are answering that important call to action.

Together, under the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance, we choose to invest in the health and well-being of the people and communities, who in turn will have better control over the health of this portion of planet Earth – the amazing Kafue Landscape. We envision thriving agriculture, fisheries, forestry, water and wildlife-based industries that support the long-term sustainability of both the people and natural resources of the Kafue ecosystem.

The Kafue landscape is one of the largest conservation areas in Africa and boasts incredible biological diversity, including more than 21 species of antelope—the highest in Africa, if not the world. This remarkable natural endowment serves as the foundation of the livelihoods of over 200,000 people, who live in and adjacent to the Game Management Areas to the east of the Kafue National Park. 

Unfortunately, poverty-driven threats to the Kafue landscape’s rich biological diversity, combined with gaps in resource protection and management, have led to high rates of poaching,  and also resulted in encroachment, unsustainable forest clearing, overfishing, and destructive fires. Such ecological erosion not only threatens the future prosperity of communities and businesses in the area, but the whole Kafue landscape. Facing the challenge of poverty head-on is key to addressing the threats to the Kafue landscape. 

As an integrated project, the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance aims to do just that with a focus on improving the well-being of community residents by increasing access to clean drinking water, improving maternal and child health, diversifying and strengthening agricultural productivity and linkages to markets, and supporting community-led resource management of the forests and wildlife upon which communities depend. 

The Alliance partners seek to develop an enabling environment for increased private sector investment that can drive poverty reduction, improve nature-based incomes, and direct more resources towards human well-being. This five-year, $21.3 million project is a partnership that contributes to improved natural resources management in support of Zambia’s inclusive, market-driven approach to economic development.

The Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance centers on improving the livelihoods of people and communities, who are, ultimately, the true custodians of the natural environment. The Alliance will promote women’s empowerment by generating equal livelihood and employment opportunities for all community members regardless of gender. 

In the previous USAID investments in the Kafue Landscape, the United States supported the establishment and operations of the Mweengwa scout camp comprising 38 scouts, 6 of whom are women. I’m delighted to note that one of the 6 female scouts is now the Commander-In-Charge of the Mweengwa Camp, Madam Sibeso Inambao. 

“We salute you Madam for your leadership and dedication which has no doubt resulted in notable achievements that were evident during the tour of the Mweengwa Camp yesterday.”

For the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance, support for community livelihoods is support for biodiversity conservation, and support for biodiversity conservation is support for the well-being of the community.

Partnerships with the private-sector is one of our key strategies to achieve our goal of reducing rural poverty, and helping ensure long-term sustainability. The Memorandum of Understanding being signed this morning signifies a commitment of $21.3 million, of which $11.3 million is private financing and $10 million is public financing from the U.S. government. 

Increased collaboration with the private sector makes us better development partners and brings us closer to our goal of ending the need for foreign assistance. Partnerships like these that integrate economic prosperity with natural resource conservation and biodiversity are the future of development.

This partnership reflects the important shift in our development work over the last decade to ensure sustainability and support to our partner countries. We know that if we are to work to improve food security and resilience and natural resource management, we must work hand in hand with the private sector, the communities, and the Zambian government to develop financially sustainable programming that ensures long-lasting impacts. 

I would like to take this opportunity to assure you that the United States remains confident in Zambia’s long-term economic prospects and supports the new dawn’s government’s efforts to diversify the economy away from its historic dependence on the mining sector. This partnership is another step in that direction. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone whose dedication and efforts have contributed to this partnership and congratulate partners on this great achievement.

Thank you again Minister of Tourism and Arts, Honorable Rodney Sikumba, and thank you Minister of Green Economy Honorable Collins Nzovu. Thank you to his Royal Highness Chief Mu len de ma, and to our Alliance and local communities partners. Together we can make a difference and protect and develop the precious treasure which is the Kafue landscape.

I look forward to the successful implementation of our MOU under this exciting project and wish you all success. Thank you.

Mukambi Lodge, Kafue National Park
Issuing Country 

Last updated: June 29, 2022

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