Agreement on Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Areas

Borders separating conservation areas of three southern African nations -- Swaziland, Mozambique and South Africa -- came down following a historic trilateral cooperation agreement to promote conservation.

The agreement on the Lubombo Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) was signed on 22 June 2000 in Durban at the World Economic Summit by the ministers responsible for the environment in the three countries.

The protocol was the second signed by the South African government. The first protocol set up the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which was officially opened by the presidents of Botswana and South Africa in May this year.

Signatories to the Lubombo TFCA were the Mozambican Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Helder dos Santos Felix Monteiro Mutela, the South African Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr Mohammed Valli Moosa, and the Swaziland Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Mr Roy Fanourakis.

The establishment of the Lubombo TFCA supports the broader aims and socio-economic upliftment in the southern Africa subcontinent, as well as improving regional ecosystems management.

The major TFCA objectives are:

  • Economic development through appropriate maximum use of opportunities presented by the three countries' natural assets.
  • Ecological and financially sustainable development, the sustainable use of the natural resource base and the maintenance of ecosystem function through holistic and integrated environmental planning and management.
  • The development of joint strategies for transfrontier ecological planning and resource management.

The detailed protocol signed by the ministers includes an extensive list of objectives as well as clear undertakings by the parties, and establishes a TFCA Conservation and Resource Area Commission.

Four specific areas targeted in the protocol are:

  • The Lubombo Ponto do Ouro-Kosi Bay marine and coastal area on the Mozambique-South African borders.
  • The Ndumo-Tembe-Futi elephant reserves on the border of Mozambique.
  • The Nsubane-Pongolo (Jozini) area on the border with Swaziland.
  • The Lubombo Conservancy-Hlane-Mlawula/Goba area on the border of Mozambique and Swaziland.

Through the SDI programme in South Africa, government has implemented a broad strategy that has resulted in over R530 million being invested in programmes such as road building and malaria control.

The Lubombo SDI has been successful in delivering on many of the promises made at the first protocol signing in 1998.

Some accomplishments are:

  • The upgrade of the N2 from Richards Bay to the Swaziland border.
  • The construction of the Hluhluwe to Maputo road of which 68% was done by SMMEs and will provide 70 000 people with all weather access.
  • The provision of 11 key access roads serving 160 000 people.
  • The building of a new border post with Mozambique.
  • A R40m malaria-control programme.
  • A R2,8m crafts programme to build capacity and give marketing support to 2 000 crafters.
  • The St Lucia Millennium festival and four other satellite festivals in which 18 countries participated.
  • The development of a R1,2m heritage route and marketing programme with regional tourism stakeholders.
  • The Greater St Lucia Wetlands Park was declared a World Heritage Site in 1999.
  • A R42m tourism-infrastructure programme, which will include the reintroduction of game, is taking place in the southern section of the park.
  • The removal of 5 000 hectares of commercial forests on St Lucia Lake's western shores and its inclusion in the park, has been negotiated.
  • Land-claim settlements on the eastern shores have been completed.