By Judith Sibanda
THIRTHY African head of states and cabbinet ministers have registered to take part in the inaugural African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) Wildlife Economy Summit to be held in Victoria Falls and top of the agenda will be the impact of wildlife on ordinary citizens and how human- wildlife conflict can be tackled.
The summit began on sunday and is expected to end on Tuesday.
Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Prisca Mupfumira said close to 500 delegates from across the world are expected to descend on the resort town for the summit which will also provide a platform to share strategies on leveraging wildlife resources to turn around African economies.
Mupfumira said the inaugural AU/UN Wildlife Summit presents KAZA nations an opportunity to share views on unlocking value from wildlife.
Kavango–Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) is situated in Southern Africa where the national borders of five countries converge — being the upper Zambezi River and Okavango basins and Delta, the Caprivi Strip of Namibia, the southeastern part of Angola, southwestern Zambia, the northern wildlands of Botswana and western Zimbabwe and It is home to 61 percent of the world elephant population.
“We are happy to host the first ever AU-UN Africa Wildlife Summit. We are looking forward to having a successful conference. As you are aware Zimbabwe is in the KAZA region and KAZA boasts of hosting over 60 percent of the world’s elephant population,”Mupfumira said.
“We will discuss how wildlife impacts the ordinary people, how we can manage human-wildlife conflict. We want to come up with resolutions which will be good for conservation and make sure people living with wildlife also benefit.
” So these are some of the issues we will be discussing. There will be various international speakers and of cause our own Zimbabweans will contribute in the deliberations,”
The summit will help delegates reflect on this important species as well as recalibrate strategies to ensure that appropriate benefits accrue to nations and respective communities.
Meanwhile, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has arrived in the resort town and will officiate at the summit.
He is accompanied by various ministers, permanent secretaries and information officials among other senior government officials.