Beyond Fences: Policy Options for Biodiversity, Livelihoods & Transboundary Animal Disease Management in Southern Africa
Please join us at 9:00 AM EDT for a screening of Beauty and the Beef. The Seminar will begin promptly at 9:30.
A key economic driver behind southern African transfrontier conservation areas (TFCAs) is nature-based tourism that seeks to maximize returns from marginal lands in a sector where southern Africa enjoys a global comparative advantage. However, the management of wildlife and livestock diseases (including zoonoses) within the envisaged larger transboundary landscapes remains unresolved and is an emerging policy issue of major concern to livestock production, associated access to export markets, and other sectors in the region—including public health. Now that Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries have chosen to pursue transfrontier conservation initiatives in the interest of regional risk-diversification of land-use options and livelihood opportunities in the face of climate change and ongoing challenges to food security, a new policy paradigm is needed to help resolve the incompatibility between (a) current regulatory approaches for the control of diseases of agro-economic importance, and (b) the vision of vast conservation landscapes without major fences.
Beauty and the Beef: Achieving Compatibility Between Wildlife Conservation and Livestock Production
African farmers living in areas with wildlife are faced with a serious dilemma: they cannot sell their healthy, free range beef to the lucrative export market. Current international trade practices dictate that they cannot protect the wildlife and, at the same time, allow farmers to tend their cattle in the same general area. If they want to export their beef to wealthy nations, they will have to get rid of all the wild buffalo or put up environmentally damaging veterinary fences. Robin Lyonga lives in the spectacular and largely unspoiled environment of the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. He and his community are poor. What should he choose when trying to lift himself and his community out of poverty: protecting the wildlife and pursuing opportunities related to ecotourism and trophy hunting, or turning his back on conservation and selling his cattle into the lucrative beef export market? The truth is that there is a win-win solution: Robin Lyonga and his community can earn an income from conservation and sell their beef to the export market. All that is needed to enable this potentially bright future for millions of African cattle farmers is a small change in attitude on the part of wealthy trading nations. (21 min, 48 sec)
Wildlife Conservation Society