Transfrontier Parks (TFPs) and Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCAs) are established when the authorities responsible for all conservation areas, which border on one another across international boundaries, agree to manage those areas as one integrated unit. These areas may include ecological corridors, private game reserves, communal natural resource management areas and hunting concession areas. The mission is to remove all human barriers within the Transfrontier Park or Transfrontier Conservation Area so that animals can roam freely within the local ecosystem. The purpose of these parks is to employ conservation as a land-use option to the benefit of local people. This initiative constitutes some of the most exciting and ambitious conservation projects in the world today.
These projects aim to establish large areas for conservation by integrating vast landscapes and re-connecting ecological systems. The benefits to local communities are achieved through the establishment of cross-border tourism and socio-economic development programs, the projects in their entirety promote peace and stability in the region.
1990: President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and the President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (South Africa) Dr Anton Rupert discuss the possible creation of the Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Conservation Area (GKG TFCA).
1991: The Mozambican Government use Global Environment Facility (GEF) funds to research the possibility of launching a TransFrontier Conservation Area pilot project.
1992 – 1994: The Peace Accord in Mozambique and the South African democratic elections pave the way towards making the pilot project a reality.
1996: Further feasibility studies are initiated by the World Bank and the pilot project is launched with Global Environment Facility (GEF) funding.
2000: Minister Helder Muteia (Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Mozambique), Minister Valli Moosa (Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in South Africa), and Minister Francisco Nhema (Minister of Environment and Tourism in Zimbabwe) sign a Trilateral Agreement in Skukuza, South Africa. The Skukuza Agreement finalized the three nations’ intent to establish and develop a transfrontier park and surrounding conservation area that, at that time, was still called GKG TFCA.
2002: President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe sign an International Treaty for the establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) in Xai-Xai, Mozambique. This allowed for the formal proclamation of the GLTP, and also provided a platform for the future development and implementation of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA), which includes various land uses around the core Protected Areas, varying from communal areas to private reserves.
The strategic objectives of the GLTP as set out in the International Treaty are:
- Foster transnational collaboration and cooperation among the parties which will facilitate effective ecosystem management in the area comprising the GLTP.
- Promote alliances in the management of biological natural resources by encouraging socio-economic, and other partnerships among the parties including private sector, local communities and Non-government Organisations.
- Enhance ecosystem integrity and natural ecological processes by harmonising environmental management procedures across international boundaries and striving to remove artificial barriers impeding the natural movement of wildlife.
- Facilitate the establishment and maintenance of a sustainable sub-regional economic base through appropriate development frameworks, strategies and work plans.
- Develop trans-border ecotourism as a means of fostering regional socio-economic development.
- Establish mechanisms to facilitate the exchange of technical, scientific and legal information for the joint management of the ecosystem.