Livelihood enhancement through Trans-boundary Natural Resource Management in the Limpopo Corridor

Place: Not Applicable, _NO_MAIN_REGION
Sustainable development of small rural communities Sustainable development of small rural communities
Total Budget: € 5.566.988,00 | Period: From January 2009 To December 2014


The LTP programme aims to create transboundary, value added, development opportunities for communities in the communal areas of the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Conservation Area along the three national borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Programme’s overall development goal is to improve the standards of living of people adjacent to protected areas and living within the conservation area through trans-boundary natural resource management along the three national borders. 
The programme's immediate objective is to contribute to the development of sustainable land and natural resource use systems in target areas adjacent to the the Great Limpopo Trans-frontier Park and to help communities to make the best use of the potential “value added” opportunities the conservation area has to offer leading to a more resilient society and contributing to food security.


CESVI - Italy

Lead applicant

Cesvi, established in 1985, is an independent association, working for global solidarity. Cesvi works in all continents to face any sort of humanitarian crisis and to restore the civil society after wars and natural calamities. Cesvi’s challenge is that of turning emergency relief into an occasion to build up medium and long-term projects able to promote the self-development of local communities. Cesvi mission can be divided into three main categories: immediate help to ensure survival and to overcome emergencies; the rehabilitation and reconstruction of systems destroyed by war or natural calamities; cooperation programs and projects for the development of underprivileged social groups and poor communities. In Italy and Europe, Cesvi carries out educational programs to develop global solidarity awareness, to increase the pool of donors and volunteers, and to influence private companies and public institutions to support cooperation projects for development.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs -Directorate General for Development Cooperation - Italy

Initiative partner

L’organizzazione delle attività di Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, componente essenziale della politica internazionale dell'Italia, fa parte dei compiti del Ministero degli Affari Esteri (MAE), che demanda tali attività alla Direzione Generale per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (DGCS) che è l’organo preposto ad attuare tale politica, in attuazione della legge n.49/87. La DGCS attua le linee di cooperazione e le politiche di settore nei diversi Paesi, stabilisce rapporti con le Organizzazioni Internazionali, con l’Unione Europea e con le Organizzazioni non governative; programma, elabora ed applica gli indirizzi della politica di cooperazione e le politiche di settore tra cui sanità, ambiente e sviluppo imprenditoria locale; realizza iniziative e progetti nei Pvs; effettua interventi di emergenza e fornisce aiuti alimentari; gestisce la cooperazione finanziaria e il sostegno all’imprenditoria privata e alla bilancia dei pagamenti dei Pvs; promuove e realizza la cooperazione universitaria.

International Union for Conservation of Nature - South Africa

Initiative partner

IUCN focus on three key areas of activity: Valuing and conserving nature enhances IUCN’s heartland work on biodiversity conservation, emphasizing both tangible and intangible values of nature. Effective and equitable governance of nature’s use consolidates IUCN’s work on people-nature relations, rights and responsibilities, and the political economy of nature. Deploying nature-based solutions to global challenges in climate, food and development expands IUCN’s work on nature’s contribution to tackling problems of sustainable development, particularly in climate change, food security and social and economic development. IUCN operates through the combined force of the Secretariat (1,000 staff in global thematic programmes and nine regional programmes) working together with six IUCN Commissions, with more than 11,000 members who provide critical knowledge for Programme implementation.

Trans-boundary management for sustainable development National borders dividing local communities and ecosystems offer a mosaic of conflicting land uses and interests, with fragmented ecosystems, that threaten the biodiversity value of many areas in Southern Africa, reducing livelihood options of the resident population. The establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) in 2002 by Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe is an innovative approach to enable trans-boundary management of shared resources for better ecosystem integrity and stability, leading to the sustainable development of the Limpopo basin, where variable, unpredictable and extreme weather patterns heavily affect livelihood. Only integrated response at regional scale can build a resilient society capable to face the challenges of poverty and food security in many areas of rural Africa where rich natural resources are shared across borders.

Trans-frontier parks and adjacent buffer zones offer regional development opportunities and long term maintenance of ecosystem structure and functioning. Systemic management of natural resources deliver both conservation and livelihood development dividends, especially where high biodiversity is accompanied with poor communities. However, toward  addressing successfully two rural areas major constraints: put in place effective and comprehensive initiatives for poverty alleviation, and support economic reform and development in response to local needs in the framework of complex cross-sector interlinkings, existing institutions need to be equipped and adopt novel integrated and holistic approaches. Innovative Decision Support Systems were developed for a better understanding of the overall system, leading to integrated planning and objective monitoring while ensuring participatory representativeness at community, administrative and policy levels.

A girl with watermelon in Zimbabwe Sustainable agriculture in dry-lands is a critical component of a resilient ecosystem
Farmers with the new irrigation system Community gardens provide livelihood options to women and vulnerable groups in the Transfrontier Conservation Area of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
The new drip irrigation system Water saving technique improve agriculture production making sustainable use of scarce water resources

The Limpopo basin is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and its exposure to variable climatic conditions affects the renewable natural resource-based livelihood of the resident population. Water is scarce and livelihood options limited.Rain-fed crop yields are not adequate to feed the resident population and the risks of crop failure and variability of production are high owing to erratic rainfall patterns.The natural resource base is under significant pressure from overgrazing,wildfires and rapid deforestation.Climate-related risks to livestock production contribute to poor animal conditions with an increase in disease risk.Lack of economically and ecologically optimal pasture management practices,difficultly controllable illegal traffics,and poor access to basic veterinary services is a common factor in the area.Alternative sources of livelihood are scarce and levels of poverty high.https://www.flickr.com/photos/125056278@N07/14674493124/

A boy with cattle Livestock is an important livelihood component for the resident population of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area
Kruger National Park - South Africa Rich wildlife and parks are an important source of the local economy through tourism related activities
The mwenezi river - Zimbabwe The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park is a rich environment but highly vulnerable to climate change

Theprogramme adopted anecosystem approach toproblem analysis anddeveloped aholistic answer to thechallenges of sustainable development in thetrans-frontier area.A DecisionSupportSystem was used as a platform for developing an integrated and common understanding of the key problems and to enable participatory and joint planning amongst the institutions involved in the management of the regionThe collaborative regional planning effort led to identify projects capable to unlock development opportunities and to address the challenges of the area incorporating technologies and solutions to build a more resilient society.Water saving techniques improved the efficient production of food.Veterinary services and livestock management and branding recognized across the borders contributed to food security,reducing mortality of livestock and theft.Tapping the rich natural environment opportunities for tourism development, contributed to the diversification of the local economy.

Presentation of the DSS Presentation of the DSS
../file-system/small/pdf ../file-system/small/pdf Major achievements Major achievements of the Limpopo Transboundary Programme

The programme builds on the existing social capital, focusing on institutions and resident populations.Institutions benefitted at regional,national and local level.By working together, officials from adjacent countries at all levels were able to agree on a common strategy for the resilient development of the region,thus reinforcing the capacity of institutions to address coherently development challenges at regional scale.Communities were supported through the establishment and reinforcement of several institutions.Community Trusts to manage the use of natural resources were established.Community Groups and Cooperatives were set up to manage agriculture activities.Cattle owner associations and trusts were supported to enhance grazing practices and livestock management.Partnership and agreements between public,private and community organisations where promoted to take advantage of the added value that each stakeholder can provide in building a more resilient society.

Cattle identification Cattle identification contributed cattle owner associations and veterinary services to monitor and follow up cattle health and movement
Meeting of National Advisory Committee, South Africa Meeting of National Advisory Committee, South Africa
One of the group of community members Communities were supported to improve agriculture production and to build a more resilient livelihood
Supply of information management equipment and tools made by the pro Institutions operating in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area received support to enhance their capacity to manage and plan for the sustainable use of natural resources

The programme ensured the involvement of a variety of stakeholders and institutions.The Limpopo basin, a complex ecosystems, require coordination at different levels.Communities,parks,district administration, municipal administration, technical departments and private operators were the key human and social resources implementing the programme.Managers and human resources belonging to the different institutions managing the trans-boundary area of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, participated actively in the programme, ensuring the full involvement of local institutions: the ultimate responsible of the long term management of the area.To provide technical inputs and to ensure coordination and management operation of the programme, one project manager was employed in each country (Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe). They were supervised by a programme director and, when required, technically supported by consultants.

Programme institutional framework Programme institutional framework
Programme management framework Programme management framework
Stakeholders Consultative Workshop - Malilangwe, Zimbabwe Several stakeholders participated in each country involved by the Limpopo Transboundary Programme ensuring coordinate and integrate action
Stakeholders Consultative Workshop - Xai Xai, Mozambique Several stakeholders participated in each country involved by the Limpopo Transboundary Programme ensuring coordinate and integrate action

Despite the establishment of a trans-boundary park the countries involved did not constituted a fully-fledged administrative framework,were stakeholders can operate with a clear mandate under their individual capacities to deal with local level trans-boundary coordination.The trans-frontier area lack of a structure to support and implement local level coordination,with only the Joint ManagementBoard established as a high level coordinating body.Local coordination was essential to achieve programme objectives and  implement activities in the three countries,contributing to a more resilient society.District,ward and village representatives feel the need to communicate and coordinate with adjacent counterparts, but lack the mandate to do so.The programme was able to facilitate local coordination and dialogue,filling an existing institutional gap and contributing to promoting its overcoming by initiating a process that will yield dividends for the better management of the area.

The DSS to manage different sectors A range of diverse issues have to be managed across the borders of the countries promoting the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Area. The DSS provided an integrated methodology to unlock transboundary opportunities for local development

The adopted trans-boundary approach  addresses the need to manage mosaics of habitat in an integrative and practical way at the wider landscape level.The maintenance of connectivity allowing ecological processes,including human being, animals, and plants free flow  across habitats,is a key component of long term environmental sustainability.The programme spanned not only across the trans-boundary protected area international  frontiers,but also the national borders between communities and parks,local political jurisdictions,and various types of land ownerships and management practices.Protection of biodiversity was the base for promoting a range of economic activities that support local communities.A diverse environment supported by functional ecosystems is the foundation of a diversified local economy,where communities benefit from a stream of ecosystem services and environmental opportunities,making livelihood more resilient while contributing to their preservation.

A Photovoltaic System. Pafuri, Mozambique The adoption of photovoltaic greatly enhance the environmental sustainability of the area
A kudu antelope in Kruger National Park - South Africa The Limpopo transfrontier park is among the largest protected ecosystems in the works, supporting abundant wildlife, plants and endemic species
Nwanedi drip irrigation The adoption of water saving techniques in agriculture greatly contribute to the sustainable use of the scarce resources in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area

The programme provided for the establishment of a platform for participatory planning, and a mechanism for developing an integrated and common understanding of the ecosystem status and functioning between stakeholders. It also provided a platform for sharing data between different institutions both within and between countries, thus contributing to administrative coherence and collaboration. The management capacity of the institutions involved by project activities will be able to rely and build on these long term achievements. The programme was intended to contribute to strengthen institutional capacity for planning and development of rural areas. At the same time, it intended to support the gradual development of a broad planning framework for the Transfrontier Conservation Area through policy analysis and dialogue. Both these activities have a long term effect in building food security and a more resilient society in the Limpopo basin.


The programme experience provided the case for advocating globally for the adoption in development programmes of methodologies and approaches based on data and objective information, contributing to the promotion of international policies supporting a systemic approach and the use of objective and contextualized indicators in the planning and management processes of natural environments.Given their methodological innovation and effectiveness, the programme experience and lessons learned could be shared at global scale through high level technical panels and side events at the UN CBD COP in Durban(2011), at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 in Rio, at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, at the UN CBD COP XI in Hydebarad (2012), and at the UN CCD COP XII in Windhoek.The programme outcomes were the foundation for new initiatives focusing on the equitable sharing of genetic species (Nagoya Protocol) and for the management of the Limpopo basin.

UN CBD COP XI meeting UN CBD COP XI meeting in Hydebarad (2012)
United Nations Conference United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20 in Rio (2012)
../file-system/small/doc ../file-system/small/doc SAWMA symposium SAWMA symposium, Hartenbos, Western Cape, September 2011 - abstract
../file-system/small/docx ../file-system/small/docx The 4th Conference on Drylands The 4th Conference on Drylands, Deserts & Desertification 2012, Abstract
../file-system/small/pptx ../file-system/small/pptx UCN World Conservation Congress UCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju (2012)