For the second year in a row, the Lower Zambezi National Park has gone carbon neutral from operations. This continued commitment from Zambian tourism operators to reduce their carbon footprint highlights the importance of protecting the environment for wildlife, people and for future generations.
Starting in the year 2015, the Lower Zambezi National Park became the first National Park in the world to go carbon neutral from operations, Zambia has shown that it continues to be a leader in forest conservation and mitigating climate change.
A national park that is “carbon neutral from operations” has offset its emissions from tourism and conservation operations. For emissions that cannot be avoided (such as fuel used for safari vehicles), these are balanced out through the purchase of forest carbon offsets from the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project. The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project is funded through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Community Forests Program, implemented by BCP.
For the second year, Zambian tourism lodges located both inside and outside of the Lower Zambezi National Park, purchased offsets to cover both their own unavoidable emissions, as well as those from park management activities undertaken by the Department of National Parks and Conservation Lower Zambezi. Tourism is the world’s largest service industry and with significant energy, fuel, and food needs, this commitment by Zambian companies is significant.
Not only does this partnership help the Lower Zambezi National Park become carbon neutral from operations, it also has positive impacts on local communities and biodiversity. The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project protects 60 km of the northern boundary of the National Park from poaching and deforestation threats, and improves the lives of communities around the park though increased access to education and healthcare, employment opportunities and infrastructure. All of these are made possible by revenue brought in from the sale of Forest Carbon Offsets.
The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project carries two of the most highly recognised and respected international accreditations attainable by carbon projects. Validated and verified three times by the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and triple gold level validated by the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standard (CCB).
As Grant Cumings, the Managing Director of Chiawa and Old Mondoro Camps, expressed: “Aside from guaranteeing to protect enough trees to mop up the carbon from all our tourism and activities, the northern frontier of the Lower Zambezi National Park is being protected [through this partnership with the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project], meaning vulnerable populations of fauna and flora are being sustained some distance from our area of operation. Therefore, the benefits of our model of responsible tourism are being enjoyed not only locally but further afield. This would not have been possible without BCP’s pioneering efforts which we are proud to be a part of.”
BCP is grateful to the Tourism Operators listed below for their generous support and leadership in conservation and climate change mitigation which made the Lower Zambezi National Park carbon neutral from operations, for the second year in a row.
Tourism Partners supporting Carbon Neutrality for the Lower Zambezi National Park:
Chiawa and Old Mondoro Camps – The Cumings Family own and run one of Africa’s finest safari operations with their two sensational, multi-award winning camps – Chiawa Camp and Old Mondoro which pioneered safaris in Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park. Each of these safari camps offer an authentic experiential safari, where the focus is on the bush, the river, the wildlife, and you. Both camps offer a unique haven of warmth and hospitality, dedicated to making your safari dreams come true whilst protecting the wildlife and habitat of what has become one of Africa’s “bucket list” safari areas.
Anabezi and Amanzi Camp are very excited to work with BCP on this conservation initiative, protecting the habitat on the borders of the park is critical in protecting the areas we utilize and from which we benefit. We hope that by the Lower Zambezi National Park becoming carbon neutral from operations that we will set the benchmark for a broader type of conservation within National Parks and Wildlife areas.
Mwambashi River Lodge is one of the oldest camps in the Lower Zambezi and one of the safari world’s best-kept secrets. Situated in the heart of the National Park, a truly unspoiled wilderness area, Mwambashi combines comfort – cold drinks, Cordon Bleu meals and roomy en-suite tents – with the quintessential bush experience: game drives, bush walks, fishing, photo boat cruises and canoeing or enjoying a cold drink in camp watching elephants literally within touching distance.
Baines’ River Camp, a family owned and run safari lodge situated in the Game Management Area adjacent to the Lower Zambezi National Park, is passionate about all aspects of conservation. Whilst offering services with as little impact on this fragile ecosystem as feasibly possible, we are proud to be included in this pioneering project to offset the pressures of human impact on Zambia’s pristine natural heritage.
Royal Zambezi Lodge, a spacious but intimate privately owned lodge, situated in Zambia on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River just minutes from the Lower Zambezi National Park and directly opposite Zimbabwe’s famous Mana Pools World Heritage Site. Royal offers the ultimate in luxury and cuisine while enjoying and participating closely in the sights and sounds of the African wilderness.
Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:
BioCarbon Partners (BCP) is an African-based and focused social enterprise, whose mission is to enhance livelihoods and conservation through verified forest conservation projects in Africa. BCP’s current focus is implementing REDD+ projects in the greater Zambezi-Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia. BCP has certified Zambia’s first pilot REDD+ demonstration project known as the ‘Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’ to CCB triple gold standards (validation) and VCS verification; the first project in Africa with these certifications.
Community Forests Program
In addition, BCP is proud to partner with USAID to implement the Community Forests Program. This innovative program targets the verification of 700,000 hectares of threatened forests across in Luangwa Valley ecosystem. BCP’s local presence, concentration on African dryland forests and intense focus on community livelihoods and conservation are the foundations of our operational strategy.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency working around the world to end extreme poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. When crisis strikes; when rights are repressed; when hunger, disease, and poverty rob people of opportunity; USAID acts on behalf of the American People to help expand the reach of prosperity and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable. In order to support these goals, President John. F. Kennedy created the United States Agency for International Development by executive order in 1961. Currently active in over 100 countries worldwide, USAID was born out of a spirit of progress and innovation, reflecting American values and character, and motivated by a fundamental belief in doing the right thing. .
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife formerly known as Zambia Wildlife Authority is mandated under the Zambia Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 to manage and conserve Zambia’s wildlife; its national parks and game management areas, which cover 31 percent of the country’s land mass. Department of National Parks and Wildlife endeavours to integrate the wildlife policy with economic, environmental and social policies to ensure effective contribution to sustainable national development. BCP and Department of National Parks and Wildlife collaborate closely in development and implementation of its REDD+ areas as those often are in ecosystems adjacent or including protected areas.
Conservation Lower Zambezi is a Zambian non-profit organisation committed to the conservation and sustainable use of the local wildlife and natural resources of the Lower Zambezi. Conservation Lower Zambezi focuses on three areas of work: a) wildlife protection – assisting the Department of National Parks and Wildlife anti-poaching patrol deployments and training as well as supporting a local Community Resource Board Village Scout unit; b) environmental education through outreach in schools and visits to our Conservation Lower Zambezi environmental education centre; and c) supporting local community development projects, especially human wildlife conflict mitigation. Conservation Lower Zambezi operates in the same ecosystem as BCP and the two entities have been collaborating on law enforcement and management of the area.
This Press Release is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Photo Credits: BCP and CLZ