Malawi / Zambia TFCA

Park Development

Following a study carried out by Peace Parks Foundation, the governments of Malawi and Zambia started exploring the possibility of establishing a TFCA on the borders of their countries in 2003. At the first bilateral meetings held in May and August of that year, it was decided to appoint an international coordinator to drive the process of developing the TFCA. During the ensuing months an agreement was drafted on the development of the TFCA.

The series of bilateral meetings came to fruition on 13 August 2004 when the Malawi Minister of Information and Tourism, Hon. Dr Ken Lipenga MP, and Zambia's Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, Hon. Patrick K Kalifungwa MP, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide a framework for the development of the transfrontier conservation area at Chelinda on the Nyika Plateau in Malawi.
The signing of the MoU marked the beginning of a formal process of negotiation between the governments of Malawi and Zambia concerning the establishment of the Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area. These negotiations will be carried out through an institutional framework comprising several committees, including the bilateral ministerial committee, the bilateral technical committee, national TFCA committees and ad hoc committees. An international coordinator was recruited to manage the TFCA development process and provide secretarial services to the committees.
A joint law enforcement project operating as a single unit across international borders to combat poaching was initiated in 2005. The reduction in poaching and improvement in animal sightings allowed the start of a wildlife restocking programme in 2007.

On 21 April 2011 the World Bank’s board of executive directors approved a Global Environmental Facility (GEF) trust fund grant for the more effective cross-border management of biodiversity in the TFCA. In addition, in 2012 co-financing commitments were secured from the Norwegian embassy in Malawi, Peace Parks Foundation and the governments of Malawi and Zambia for the following five years.

Thanks to funding from the GEF/World Bank and Norway, field activities got off the ground in earnest in 2011. With sufficient fuel, law enforcement activities could be implemented more systematically. Office furniture, vehicles, equipment and uniforms were procured, while key project staff members were recruited and staff training got under way.

A joint radio network for Kasungu and Lukusuzi national parks was completed and is fully functional thanks to a US Fish & Wildlife Service sponsorship.

Thanks to World Bank funding, vehicles and equipment could be procured for the TFCA in 2013. Uniforms and patrolling equipment for the 135 field rangers were also delivered. Maintenance of 60% of the tourism and management roads in Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve in Malawi was completed by the Nyika-Vwaza Trust in terms of the MoU with the TFCA. All the entrance gates, staff houses and offices were renovated and new staff houses were constructed.
The development of an integrated development plan (IDP) for the Nyika-North Luangwa component of the TFCA is nearing completion. The IDP process is a comprehensive and participatory planning process that aligns the planning and development of the different tiers of government with those of the private sector and communities. It also informs the national development strategy of that particular area.

A refresher course in law enforcement was held at the Bambanda-Zaro wildlife sanctuary and involved 33 wildlife police officers and park and wildlife assistants. The course included topics such as investigations, search operations, discipline, the use of GPS and data management. A recent analysis of the law enforcement situation in the Nyika component indicated a 60% decline in poaching between 2013 and 2014. Incidents relating to the killing of animals have declined by 40% over the same period. There has also been an improvement in the populations of key species on the Nyika plateau. These improvements are attributed to the support provided by the TFCA structures. However, the level of poaching is still high.
Two housing units and an office block at Njalanyankhunda camp in Nyika National Park were completed. At Kaperekezi camp, construction of an operations room was completed. The Nyika guesthouse in the Zambian component of the TFCA is being upgraded and will have six en suite rooms for visitors. A parking lot and a storeroom were constructed at Kazuni in Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve. Three new management roads were opened in Vwaza, while the construction of concrete bridges continues. New TFCA signage was placed at the gates of Nyika, Vwaza and Bambanda-Zaro camp. The supply of power at Kazuni in Vwaza is a significant development that will benefit the park management and tourism alike.

Elephant leaving the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve are causing extensive human-wildlife conflict in the neighbouring areas. A 40 km electrified fence is therefore being erected to close the eastern boundary of the reserve and reduce this conflict.
KfW appraisal mission
KfW appraisal mission
In August 2014 the German Federal Ministry for Cooperation and Development (BMZ) committed funding to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) under its financial cooperation programme in order to develop the Malawi-Zambia TFCA. KfW, the German Development Bank, is mandated by BMZ to carry out German financial cooperation.

The World Bank Mission, with representatives from the World Bank, the Norwegian embassy and Peace Parks Foundation, visited the TFCA in February 2014. As the previous field visit had focused on progress made in Malawi, this one focused on Zambia. The World Bank is funding the development of a community conservation area in the Zambian component of the TFCA. Zambia WIldlife Authority (ZAWA) suggested that this be developed in the Musalangu Game Management Area. ZAWA identified a 53 000 ha block in the northern part of the Chama area and named it the Chama Community Conservation Area. The community is keen to develop the conservation area, as it contains a lot of wildlife that needs to be supported and protected as a resource.

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. Participants from Malawi and Zambia included stakeholders from the conservation and development sectors, local communities and NGOs.

A mid-term review took place from 16 to 24 November when the World Bank task team leader and senior staff from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife in Malawi and ZAWA visited the project.
President Edgar Lungu of Zambia and President Peter Mutharika of Malawi
President Edgar Lungu of Zambia and President Peter Mutharika of Malawi
On 7 July 2015 President Peter Mutharika of Malawi and President Edgar Lungu of Zambia signed the treaty establishing the Malawi-Zambia TFCA.