The SADC TFCA Network convened a meeting from the 22nd until 24th March 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The meeting discussed issues of transboundary conservation across the region. The objective of the meeting was to update TFCA Network members on current status and discuss the following issues: the Network’s engagement at international fora, development of a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Framework for SADC TFCAs, the mid-term review of the SADC-GIZ TUPNR Programme; the updates of the TFCA portal; reporting back of Communities of Practices of the TFCA Network; and capacity building and training needs of TFCA practitioners. Additionally, SADC Member States discussed in a closed session the development of a KfW funded TFCA Financing Facility. The meeting contributed to the SADC TFCA Network’s objective to facilitate learning and information sharing as well as collaboration with all stakeholders. It brought together over 60 TFCA practitioners from Member States’ wildlife authorities, NGO, private sector and the donor community.
In her welcoming remarks, Ms. Deborah Kahatano, Senior Programme Manager for Natural Resource Management and Wildlife at the SADC Secretariat stressed that TFCAs are a progressive approach in addressing conservation challenges as well as enhancing the contribution of natural resources to regional economic development. She further pointed out that going forward the Network is expected to further align with the priorities of the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) especially looking at issues of poverty reduction through regional integration and enterprise development. “Other issues of priority are the long-term sustainability of the SADC TFCA Programme and activities of the Network including institutional arrangements and financing mechanisms beyond the current GIZ support”, she said.
To date the SADC TFCA Network has more than 250 members from a broad range of stakeholders. Some of the major achievements of the Network over the course of the last year included the Network’s participation at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna (CITES) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Seth Maphalapa, Chair of the TFCA Network and TFCA focal point for Swaziland, reiterated that the SADC TFCA agenda was put on the global table during this high-level wildlife conference.
During a full-day workshop, facilitated by Dr. Clara Bocchino, the meeting agreed on key elements of the SADC TFCA M&E Framework. Mr. Alphonci Muradza, Information Technology Officer of SADC Secretariat presented the SADC Results Based M&E System being designed by SADC Secretariat to monitor and report on the SADC RISDP, as well as on SADC protocols and other legal SADC documents. Once the SADC TFCA M&E Framework for monitoring the SADC TFCA programme is merged with the SADC Results-based M&E system, the TFCA Programme will be the first SADC Programme to be monitored against components, objectives and outputs under the new framework. Using 2017 as the baseline data the meeting agreed that the indicators should use a mix of quantitative and qualitative data.
As a result of the workshop participants proposed four specific focus areas for monitoring: (i) measure expenditure and investment in TFCA development; (ii) measure the existence of joint management structures of shared resources with a specific focus on joint law-enforcement; (iii) measure the direct involvement of local communities in decision-making processes, specifically in tourism; and (iv) facilitation of tourist access to the TFCA , specifically freedom of movement within the transboundary area. Dr. Bocchino will now finalize the draft TFCA M&E Framework to be reviewed at a validation workshop later this year.
Two of the Network’s four Communities of Practices (CoPs) tabled recommendations. The Training and Capacity Building CoP recognized that besides establishing a good understanding of training needs and offers for TFCAs, the training providers should collaborate more and strive to recognize each other’s qualification. Hence the meeting recommended organizing a meeting between SADC Centres of Excellence and other partners, facilitated and coordinated by the SADC Secretariat. Such meeting is expected to be held over the course of the year. The Tourism CoP shared lessons learned of the participation at the International Tourism Fair (ITB) in Berlin in March 2017. To market TFCAs as destinations the CoP stressed the importance of focussing on developing and marketing cross-border itineraries and routes which also includes community-owned lodges in the TFCA. Furthermore it recognized that it is time to consolidate and enhance the Boundless Southern Africa marketing brand to all TFCAs across the 15 SADC Member States.
The two CoPs will lead the process to table the recommendations at relevant SADC Technical Committees, RETOSA board and Ministerial structures to be held over the course of the next year.
On the last day of the meeting, the SADC-GIZ TUPNR Programme Mid-term Review Team met with the Network members. The review had two objectives, first to measure accomplishments to date against the programme’s objectives and second to provide guidance on what the Programme should do going forward. The Mid-term Review proposed to extend the programme to 2020. Furthermore, the Mid-term Review Team will share outcomes of this session through the Proceedings of the Network meeting, soon available on the TFCA Intranet.
The next TFCA Network meeting is planned for the first quarter of 2018.