On 17 December 2018, a ceremony was held to formally re-open the newly renovated Mukamba Gate Complex in Zambia Lower Zambezi National Park. The colourful event was the largest in BCP’s history and was attended by the Minister of Tourism and Arts, Honorable Charles Banda, the U.S. Ambassador to Zambia, His Excellency Daniel L. Foote, members of USAID/Zambia’s Economic Development office, Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) representatives, Biocarbon Partners (BCP) employees and local community members.
Mukamba Gate is the northern entryway to Lower Zambezi National Park and borders BCP’s Rufunsa Conservancy REDD+ project. Refurbishment of the Gate complex was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Community Forests Program—the flagship activity for USAID/Zambia’s forest conservation and rural livelihood initiatives—and aims to support the critical work of DNPW in protecting the Park from wildlife crime and habitat loss by enhancing security measures.
The complex now boasts of an improved security checkpoint and office building as well as housing facilities for Wildlife Police Officers. The $80,000 infrastructure investment was selected by DNPW as a priority project to enhance security facilities at the Gate.
“Conservation of these areas of significant biodiversity is a large task that requires constant effort by DNPW and the Forestry Department. We are pleased for the opportunity to collaborate with the Zambian government to address our shared concern for Zambia’s environment and wildlife,” said BCP CEO, Dr. Hassan Sachedina. “It is critical in this time of growing pressures from population expansion and climate change that organisations and government work together to maximise positive outcomes for Zambia’s wildlife, forests and communities.”
Through habitat protection, local communities can benefit from tourism income as well as revenue shares from BCP carbon offset sales. Income generation is crucial within these rural areas to ensure adequate social service development to meet the growing population demand.
“If we lose Zambia’s forests and wildlife, we lose a critical driver of economic growth for our local communities,” said United States Ambassador to Zambia Daniel L. Foote. “Activities such as wildlife tourism and beekeeping are only possible through conservation.”
The Mukamba Gate refurbishment project is just one of many collaborative projects by BCP and DNPW, enabled through USAID funding for the Community Forests Program.