Steve Collins – New SADC TFCA Network Coordinator

Rorly Sherwen's picture
22 February 2024

The SADC TFCA Steering Committee welcomed Steve Collins as the SADC TFCA Network Coordinator in July 2023, with support from the SADC/GIZ Climate Resilient and Natural Resources (C-NRM) Programme. Steve has 30 years of regional development experience, focusing on promoting human rights through inclusive socioeconomic development that recognizes conservation land use as a local, national and global asset. His work has centred around land ownership transformation and local economic development linked to sustainable natural resources, including biodiversity conservation, ecotourism, water management, biofuels, wind energy, and other sustainable land uses. Additionally, his previous experience in establishing human rights and peacekeeping networks will be invaluable to the TFCA Network.

Steve’s involvement in conservation began in 1995 when given his previous political violence mediation experience he was approached to facilitate a resolution to the long-running St Lucia mining and conservation conflict. This led to the establishment of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park and his subsequent career in this sector, with similar work in Lesotho as part of the Lesotho Highlands Water project and then as project coordinator for GIZ's Training and Support for Resource Management Program in South Africa in the 2000s.

Recently, he was part of USAID's regional RESILIM and Resilient Waters programs, which worked with SADC RBOs and TFCAs, focusing on climate change adaptation and biodiversity protection. He has provided advice to a diverse range of stakeholders, including government, donors, NGOs, private investors, and communities, to enhance local economic and social development opportunities.

Steve has facilitated Community, Public, Private Partnerships (CPPPs) necessary for conservation, renewable energy, and ecotourism projects, ensuring respect for indigenous peoples' rights and the environment. Much of this work has been carried out through the African Safari Foundation, where he continues to serve as a director, supporting community rights in conservation.

Steve has presented his work as successful examples of Community-Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) at numerous global forums, including the IUCN's World Parks Congress in 2003 and 2015, and the IUCN Conservation Congress in 2016.

He was one of the founding members of the TFCA Network and actively supported the network in their annual meetings and at international forums such as the CITES COP in 2016 and the African Protected Areas Congress in Kigali, Rwanda, in 2022.

Steve says he is honored to be playing this role as network coordinator, working with good people on such a large-scale post-colonial sustainable regional development program.