The Southern African Development Community has, since 2013, established as Transfrontier Conservation Areas Programme to support the establishment of a fully “functional and integrated network of Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) where shared natural resources are sustainably co-managed and conserved to foster economic and social development, tourism, and regional integration for the benefit of those living within and around TFCAs and mankind at large” . This is mandated by the 1999 SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement under article 3(c) establishing that all Member States are to cooperate in the management of “shared wildlife resources as well as any transfrontier effects of activities within their jurisdiction or control”, and article 4(2)(f) establishing as an objective of the Protocol the promotion of “the conservation of shared wildlife resources through the establishment of transfrontier conservation areas” . The SADC TFCAs Programme also responds to the current Regional Integrated Strategic Development Plan (RISDP 2005-2020), which identifies “conservation, management and use of natural resources as a major component of a key priority intervention area, “environment and sustainable development” and acknowledges that transboundary conservation of natural resources is an existing challenge for the realisation of SADC policies and strategies on environment and land management” . Hence, SADC TFCAs a very important vehicle for the establishment of sustainable development processes, which focus on the just and equitable use and management of transfrontier ecosystems, their goods and services. Within the SADC TFCA programme, Component 4 on the ‘Establishment of Data and Knowledge Management Systems’ identifies the need for an integrated monitoring and evaluation system that is specifically designed for transfrontier conservation areas. Furthermore, the SADC TFCA Network has periodically recognised the need to create an ad hoc system that would enable the periodical measurement and assessment of the performance of any SADC TFCA according to several indicators and factors stemming from the SADC objectives for shared natural resources management. Within this legal, policy and systemic context, the SADC TFCA Programme wishes to establish a Framework for the Monitoring and Evaluation of the Impact of SADC TFCAs, which is able to respond to (1) the objectives established in the 1999 Protocol and in the SADC TFCA Programme, (2) the programmatic lines of the RISDP 2005-2020, and (3) the objectives and framework of the SADC Policy on Strategy Development, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (2012). The document shall enable the standardised collection and evaluation of, and reporting on data which provides an accurate and up to date picture of the collective contributions of SADC TFCAs to meeting objectives of biodiversity conservation, social welfare and economic growth at both the TFCA and regional levels.
Dr. Clara Bocchino