SOUTHERN African Development Community (SADC) is working out strategies to safeguard environment, natural resources and tourism attractions and ensure partner states get maximum economic benefits.
Senior officials responsible for the sectors from the 16 SADC member states converging at Arusha International Conference Centre (AICC) are assessing the progress achieved from the previous meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in March 2017 to address challenges faced and consolidate the successes achieved.
The meeting preceding the joint meeting of ministers responsible for the sectors is scheduled for this Friday to sustain progress towards regional integration and common development, with tangible benefits for the populations and economies.
SADC Chair of the Committee of Senior Officials Responsible for Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, Professor Adolf Mkenda said that it was pertinent to strengthen the joint work and share experiences as prescribed by regional policies and strategies to maximise benefits derived from them.
Professor Mkenda who is the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism in Tanzania said one of the actions to be taken is for all countries to have similar or single law to safeguard the resources and combat poaching.
Tanzania already has the legislation and poaching has significantly been controlled.
He commended the outgoing Chairperson, Mr Teofilus Nghitila from Namibia for his commendable job for the past one year in coordinating the long journey towards regional integration and development.
“The United Republic of Tanzania commits itself to continue supporting this process and encouraging everyone to closely work together towards our common future,” said Professor Mkenda at the four-day meeting that has attracted over 500 delegates from Angola, Botswana, Comoro, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Z ambia and Z imbabwe.
He expressed optimism that the outcome of the meeting will go a long way towards ensuring sustainable use of environmental and natural resources to sustain the development of partner states’ economies and improvement of the livelihoods of their population.
The chairperson said the committee will be guided by SADC policies and strategies, SADC Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement that includes the SADC Law Enforcement and antipoaching strategy (LEAP) and SADC Programme for Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TF CAs).
Others are the Protocol on F orest, which includes the SADC Forestry Strategy; the Protocol on the Development of Tourism, including the proposed Tourism Programme.
Another is the Protocol on Environmental Management for Sustainable Development, pending ratification and execution.
Some of the existing strategies are the Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan as well as Sub-Regional Action Programme to Combat Desertification.