By Helen Zulu
Government has committed about US$11.5 million to the management of community owned wildlife resource project in Bangweulu in Luapula Province.
Tourism and Arts minister Jean Kapata said government with the assistance from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development programme (UNDP) had committed about US$11.5 million to implement the project in three demonstration sites in Bangweulu, Lower Zambezi and West Lunga.
Ms Kapata said out of US$11.5 million, the Bangweulu Wetlands received US$2.5 million.
She said the project was a demonstration site for the UNDP Reclassification for Effective Management Protected Area Systems projects which, together with Government and partners, aimed to develop this as a new model for the management of the community wildlife resource areas.
Ms Kapata said the management of hunting in the Bangweulu Wetlands was the responsibility of the Bangweulu Wetlands Management Board saying the Game Management Area (GMA) remained a pool.
She was speaking when the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) signed a partnership agreement with African Parks Zambia, the Chiefs and Community Resource Boards (CRBs) for the management of the Bangweulu Wetlands in Luapula province in Lusaka last week.
"Government with the assistance from the GEF and the UNDP has committed about US$11.5million to implementing this project in three demonstration sites in Bangweulu, Lower Zambezi and West Lunga," she said.
The 6000 kilometers Bangweulu Wetlands supports a healthy population of Black Lechwe, Sitatunga and Tsessebe together with a number of other species.
Bangweulu is classified as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International and the area was designed as a Ramsar wetland of International importance in 1191 [sic\.