14 August 2004
CHILINDA, Nyika Plateau: A brief handshake at this remote outpost high above Lake Malawi on Friday has sealed one of the most far-reaching conservation initiatives yet seen in southern Africa.
As an icy Chiperoni wind blanketed the 2 600-metre high plateau in mist, the environment ministers of Zambia and Malawi signed a deal that will see the two countries joining forces to create two vast cross-border conservation areas.
But the historic deal was nearly torpedoed at the last minute by the vagaries of Africa's weather - those same Chiperoni mists grounded the two ministerial parties.
They had to abandon plans to fly in from the regional Malawian capital, Mzuzu, and drive for more than three hours over the dusty, bumpy Nyika roads.
At 6pm on Friday, Malawi's Minister of Information and Tourism, Ken Lipenga, and Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Patrick Kalifungwa, signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two countries joining forces in conserving their contiguous wildlife areas.
The final treaty, to be signed in December next year. will consolidate into conservation areas the Nyika Plateau on both sides of the border, Malawi`s Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve and Kasungu National Park with Zambia`s Lundazi, Mitenge and Mikuti Forest Reserves, Musalangu Game Management Area and Lukusuzi National Park.
The total area of the combined conservation areas will eventually be more than 35 000km² and incorporate a huge diversity of ecological systems, including Afro-montane forest and grasslands, lowland woodland, marshes, miombo woodland and gallery forest.
The proposed area will also be linked to one of Africa`s most pristine wilderness areas, Zambia`s south and north Luangwa national parks.
Facilitated by the Stellenbosch-based Peace Parks Foundation - which has supported the establishment of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld, Great Limpopo and the Kgalagadi Trans-frontier Parks - the Malawi-Zambia agreement will see the first significant transfrontier parks established outside South Africa`s immediate borders.
Addressing the bilateral meeting, Lipenga said ecosystems divided by political boundaries could be reunited, cultural ties severed by borders could be reintegrated, agreements on collaborative management could contribute to stronger political ties between states, (and) joint tourism promotion could boost tourism revenues for communities and the two states.
Kalifungwa said transfrontier conservation areas, when developed, had the primary objective of achieving socio-economic upliftment in otherwise remote and impoverished rural areas adjoining conservation areas.
He added that a key offshoot of the process would be the reuniting of communities separated by the international boundary drawn by the colonial government.
Peace Parks Foundation CEO, Willem van Riet, said this was the first trans-frontier area not linked to South Africa.
In another significant breakthrough, Peace Parks Foundation project manager Werner Myburgh,announced that conservation officials from the two countries had agreed on a sweeping cross-border anti-poaching initiative for the Nyika Plateau Transfrontier Park, an area plagued by widespread subsistence poaching.
Previously, poachers from both countries have raided across the border with impunity, as law enforcement officials were not allowed to cross the international boundary. The new agreement allows for hot pursuit operations.
Earlier in the day, the two ministers joined a Peace Parks/University of Pretoria elephant satellite collaring research team and took part in the darting and collaring of an elephant cow in the remote Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Malawi.
Addressing game scouts before heading off to help collar the elephant, Lipenga said the work they were doing was as important to Malawi as the battle against HIV/Aids.
Cape Times - 16 August 2004Tony Weaver
2 November 2017Update: Translocated Nyika elephants settle in
In August 2017, 34 elephants were translocated from Liwonde National Park to Nyika National Park, Malawi. The elephants are all healthy and settling in to their new habitat on the Nyika Plateau. Thisread more
8 August 2017New life for Elephants in Nyika National Park
Malawi’s Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife, supported by South African-based NGO, Peace Parks Foundation, this month translocatedread more
5 July 2017Park receives first vehicle in almost 20 years!
Late in June, Peace Parks Foundation had the pleasure of delivering a Toyota Land Cruiser to Zambia's Department of National Parks and Wildlife for use in Zambia's Lukusuzi National Park, part of theread more
7 July 2015Treaty establishing the Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) signed
Marking another major step in southern Africa’s transfrontier conservation development, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Malawi, Prof Arthur Peter Mutharika, and His Excellency the Prread more
12 November 2014President Peter Mutharika of Malawi becomes an honorary patron
President Peter Mutharika of Malawi has honoured Peace Parks Foundation by agreeing to become an honorary patron of the foundation. Peace Parks Foundation has been working closely with the Malawi Depread more
11 November 2014Cross-border collaboration in the Malawi-Zambia TFCA
A Malawi-Zambia TFCA conservation week event, entitled 'Collaborating towards conservation and sustainable livelihoods', was held in Malawi from 28 October to 1 November 2014.read more
4 August 2014Further funding for the Malawi-Zambia TFCAread more
17 May 2012Norway Grant Agreement for Nyika TFCA signed
Following on an earlier report regarding the funding secured for the Nyika TFCA involving Malawi and Zambia, the Norway Grant Agreement was signed on 16 May 2012.read more
26 April 2012Sustainable management of the Nyika TFCA
Earlier this year the World Bank announced that all conditions had been met for it to release a Global Environmental Facility Trust Fund Grant to the value of $4.82 million to develop the Nyika TFCAread more
3 December 2008Working with WCS and COMACO
The Kasungu-Lukusuzi TFCA, which is part of the Malawi/Zambia TFCA comprises two proclaimed national parks: the Lukusuzi National Park in Zambia and the Kasungu National Park in Malawi. Separating theread more