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Wildlife to drive growth, says Tourism PS

TRYNESS TEMBO, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT is reviewing the Parks and Wildlife Policy of 1998 to create an enabling environment to improve biodiversity conservation and transform the sector into a sustainable instrument of poverty reduction.
The process of reviewing the policy follows a participatory approach and broad-based consultative workshops that were conducted at district, provincial and national levels.
Ministry of Tourism and Arts permanent secretary Stephen Mwansa said the objective of the policy is to promote the conservation of wildlife as an environmental good for socio-economic benefits to the country.
“The revision of the policy [parks and wildlife] has been necessitated by Government’s desire to create an enabling policy environment that will enhance biodiversity conservation and transform the wildlife sector.
“It also provides guidance on how best to address current and future challenges and emerging opportunities in the wildlife sub-sector, both at local, national and international levels,” Mr Mwansa said at a validation workshop on Monday.
He also said the policy will help unlock the economic potential of wildlife and improve the performance of the sector as well as minimise human-wildlife conflicts.
Other potential benefits are the creation of enabling conditions for effective conservation of wildlife, sustainable growth of the sector and devolution of wildlife users’ rights to land owners, among others.
Mr Mwansa said the policy’s vision is to create a national network of a well-managed and financed wildlife estate that provides adequate environmental goods and services and contribute significantly to local and national economies.
He said Government considers the sector as critical to socio-economic development and desires to secure wildlife and its habitat to stimulate growth of the sector for economic diversification and wealth creation for local communities.

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