Mozambique has secured US$17 million to protect and conserve its share of the vast Miombo woodland, a critical part of one of Africa’s major river basins. Mozambican officials made the announcement last week, reports Lusa.
The funds will help carry out a sustainable forest management plan proposed as a result of the Maputo Declaration, which was signed by the leaders of eight African countries in August 2022. The declaration established the need for cross-border conservation efforts to safeguard the 1.3 million square kilometre Zambezi watershed – home to more than 40 million people.
Miombo itself is a massive ecosystem stretching across south-central Africa, from Angola in the west to Mozambique in the east. Its 2.7 million square kilometres of tropical savanna woodland is essential to the Zambezi River’s health. But Miombo is shrinking. Mozambique alone loses about 267,000 hectares of woodland each year due to logging, according to the country’s Director of Forestry, Cláudio Afonso.
Millions of people rely on the Zambezi River for sustenance and their livelihoods. It is a source of water (used for drinking and agricultural purposes), fish, hydropower, tourism income, and transport. The Zambezi also provides habitats for a wide range of plant and animal life, including hippopotamuses.
The Global Fund has pledged about US$12 million to help protect the Miombo woodland in Mozambique, with the Italian Cooperation Agency making up the remainder of the US$17 million. This money will go towards restoring and revitalising the woodland, establishing institutional support, and implementing Mozambique’s forest monitoring system.
Mozambique’s two-year scheme is expected to cost a total of US$30 million to implement, meaning more money is still needed.
The eight countries that have signed the Maputo Declaration are Mozambique, Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia.