By Kabanda Chulu
Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) President Chrispin Mphuka says lack of effective community involvement in wildlife conservation will result in increased poaching and other vices.
During a wildlife policy review workshop convened by the EAZ and the Natural Resources Consultative Forum (NRCF) yesterday, Dr Mphuka said the wildlife industry has the potential to contribute to Zambia’s economic growth.
He said EAZ is ready to contribute to the process of Zambia coming up with a new wildlife policy that would ensure sustainable conservation of wildlife in the country.
“We want to see a policy that will maximise the economic benefits from wildlife through its role as the anchor of the tourism sector. We also want to have a policy that will maximise community participation in wildlife conservation to help minimise the scourge of poaching and deforestation.
“Communities don’t feel detached if they are fully involved in conservation process,” Dr Mphuka said.
And Finance Deputy Minister Christopher Mvunga said government is determined to make governance in the wildlife sector as inclusive as possible.
“We have gathered so that we have as much input from key stakeholders in the wildlife sector as possible, which will ensure ownership of the final policy document.
This dialogue therefore serves as a critical pathway towards bringing together divergent values, views and ideologies into a coherent set of evidence-based recommendations for the wildlife policy response to enhancing diversification and economic development of Zambia,” Mr Mvunga said.
He challenged participants to come up with resolutions that would ensure the wildlife sector makes a meaningful contribution to the economic development of the country.
“This is on account of a number of unique features of the sector, such as management of the human-animal conflicts, better sharing of resources generated from the sector such as poaching,” said Mr Mvunga.