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The African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) has explored land tenure, environmental easements, carbon mitigation, co-management agreements and conservancy models in Zimbabwe, Kenya, and South Africa. Fitzgerald highlighted some of their key findings and featured the work AWF is conducting in Zimbabwe around developing conservancy models as part of achieving provisions of the countrys indigenization policy as well as economic, social and ecological sustainability.

The Zimbabwe government invited AWFs assistance with an initial review of the state of the nations conservation estate that includes three major designations:

  • Protected Areas
  • CAMPFIRE Areas
  • Conservancies

All three areas have experienced wildlife declines due to a number of factors including land use conversion, poaching, unplanned resettlement as part of the Land Reform Program, lack of capacity because of the financial situation and mismanagement. AWF is implementing a variety of strategies to address these threats, and was invited by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to help develop a proposed model for conservancies in Zimbabwe that meet the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment policy of 2007. AWFs proposal includes indigenization through the engagement of the communities that live in and around conservancies.

While conservancies vary throughout Africa, they offer a suite of universal benefits to land, natural resource management, community empowerment, tourism diversity, revenue generation and biodiversity conservation. The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority requested AWF to develop a model that achieves economic, social and environmental sustainability. Fitzgerald discussed some of the best practices AWF has reviewed in Africa for conservancy management and development and shared some of the proposed model in Zimbabwe. She reviewed Zimbabwes Land Reform Policy and how this had and continues to have a direct impact on wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe.