European Union (EU) has allocated 856, 000 Euro (Approximately 2.193 bn/-) to the ‘Initiative for Conservation of Serengeti-Mara Transboundary Ecosystem’ (SEMA), as Kenya and Tanzania forge new partnership.
The project that started in 2018 is expected, upon completion in 2020, to have improved wildlife protection alongside better livelihoods of the communities in the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem. A joint statement issued at the end of a two-day regional wildlife conference that brought together 70 local communities, government representatives, NGOs and other stakeholders from Kenya and Tanzania, said the project empowers local communities to adopt sustainable livelihoods.
It aims to enhance regional cooperation and partnerships among stakeholders in Kenya and Tanzania. The statement was issued by the EU, Vi Agroforestry, Bunda Farmers Development Support Organisation (Bufadeso) and Fintea Growers Co-operative Union Ltd (Fintea).
The project is part of a larger EU funded programme worth 30 million Euros (Approximately 76.868bln/-) that supports Transfrontier Wildlife Conservation in Eastern and Southern African countries. A total of 11 grants have been provided to non-state actors to implement the activities in close collaboration with local communities, with three projects targeting the cross-border areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
“The project will advocate for the political commitment among key decision makers and institutions towards joint actions that will improve the ecosystems and livelihoods among the local communities. It is expected to contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 15 - to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and many of its associated targets,” it reads in part.
The statement further states that it will be taking urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
“One of the objectives is to improve regional transboundary cooperation between Kenya and Tanzania through a coordinated approach in the enforcement of anti-poaching laws involving the communities, expansion of capabilities to enforce laws on wildlife conservation, conflict mitigation, dialogue and joint platforms for harmonising policies and deployment of resources,” said the joint statement.
When officiating the meeting on May 14, Monduli District Commissioner (DC), Mr Idd Kimanta, clearly put the stand of the Tanzanian government in ensuring Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem is conserved. He said that the ecosystem is an important conservation area that has international status, and Kenya and Tanzania are proud of it.