Community leaders okay proposed nomination of Chimanimani as a Biosphere Reserve

Delegates who attended the information and community engagement session held on 9 June 2021 in Chimanimani (Zimbabwe) agreed to the proposed nomination of Chimanimani as a Biosphere Reserve.

Chimanimani East Member of Parliament, Hon Joshua Sacco and three traditional leaders, Chiefs Saurombe, Muusha and Ndima attended the meeting and expressed interest in ensuring that the nomination of Chimanimani as Biosphere Reserve will benefit the local communities.

Hon Sacco also addressed the participants and indicated the importance of the initiative and pledged his support in the nomination process. He also highlighted that Chimanimani has unique species and landscape adding that the nomination would go a long way in preserving the biodiversity of the mountainous Chimanimani area.

Chief Saurombe indicated that the proposed nomination was very important adding that he would like to see the initiative benefiting the local communities.

Assistant District Development Coordinator for Chimanimani, Mr Tranos Hondongwa emphasized the importance of the meeting in ensuring the community understands the concept of the biosphere and the benefits it will bring to transform the lives of the people in Chimanimani. He said this was also as an important initiative as the community was still trying to recover from the Cyclone Idai devastations which hit Chimanimani in 2019.

In his presentation UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa Natural Sciences Programme Specialist, Dr Koen Verbist said biosphere reserves are “living laboratories” for testing and demonstrating sustainable development. He further informed the participants that the designation is about encouraging and facilitating people to work together, to live in and manage the whole area for a sustainable future.

Zimbabwe’s Man and Biosphere National Committee Chairperson Professor Christopher Magadza gave a detailed presentation on the steps to be followed in the nomination process for the biosphere reserve.

The nomination process is part of the UNESCO Comprehensive Resilient Building programme in Chiamanimani and Chipinge districts under the Zimbabwe Cyclone Idai Recovery Project managed by UNOPs and funded by the World Bank. The overall objective of the initiative is to reduce the vulnerability of communities in the Chimanimani and Chipinge Districts to natural disasters, such as floods, droughts and landslides; and to enhance water resource management as well as ecosystem services in response to the uncertainty of future climate change.

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