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A two day regional wildlife conference has been held at Point Zone Resort in Arusha, bringing together 70 local communities, government representatives, NGOs and other stakeholders from Kenya and Tanzania.
The conference was organized by the NGO Vi-Agroforestry in the framework of a project called "Initiative for Conservation of Serengeti-Mara Transboundary Ecosystem (SEMA)" funded by the European Union for an amount of 856,000 EUR (Approx. 2.193bln TZS). The project is part of a larger EU funded programme worth 30 million Euros (Approx. 76.868bln TZS) that supports Trans-frontier Wildlife Conservation in Eastern and Southern Africa countries. A total of 11 grants have been provided to non-state actors to implement the activities in close collaboration with local communities, with three projects targeting the cross-border areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
The Guest of Honour, District Commissioner of Monduli District, Idd Kimanta, gave the opening remarks followed by presentations by the project’s implementing partners working on wildlife management and livelihood improvements of the communities in the project area.
‘The Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem is an important conservation area which has international status, and Kenya and Tanzania are proud of this ecosystem. However, despite its ecological and economic significance, the ecosystem faces a number of conservation and policy challenges that need to be addressed. The participation of all stakeholders here today from both countries is important to ensure effective conservation and livelihood improvements that in turn will allow us to achieve sustainable management of the ecosystem, said Mr. Idd Kimanta.
The objectives of the conference is to promote best practices and share experiences among wildlife project implementers from Kenya and Tanzania, as well as fostering regional dialogue and cooperation regarding laws and policies governing wildlife conservation across the region.
The EU funded project which started in 2018 is expected, upon completion in 2020, to have improved wildlife protection alongside better livelihoods of the communities in the Serengeti-Maasai Mara ecosystem.
Initiative for Conservation of Serengeti-Mara Transboundary Ecosystem (SEMA)
The project contributes to conservation of Mara-Serengeti transboundary ecosystems through empowering local communities to adopt sustainable livelihoods. It aims to enhance regional cooperation and partnerships among stakeholders in Kenya and Tanzania.
The project will advocate for the political commitment among key decision makers and institutions towards joint actions that will improve the ecosystems and livelihoods among the local communities. It is expected to contribute towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 15 to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and many of its associated targets. The project is specifically contributing to target 15.5, to take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
One of the objectives is to improve regional trans-boundary cooperation between Kenya and Tanzania through a coordinated approach in the enforcement of anti-poaching laws involving the communities, expansion of capabilities to enforce laws on wildlife conservation, conflict mitigation, dialogue and joint platforms for harmonizing policies and deployment of resources.
Vi Agroforestry is a Swedish NGO that has been operating in East Africa since 1983.
BUFADESO is a farmers’ member based organisation in Bunda District, iMara region, Tanzania. BUFADESO is engaging with farmers in Bunda, Serengeti and Tarime districts.
FINTEA Growers Cooperative Union is a union of cooperatives from Kericho and Bomet counties in KenyaFINTEA is engaging farmers in Bomet county.
The three organisations have partnered together with Vi Agroforestry to develop and implement the EU funded project; Initiative for Conservation of Mara-Serengeti Transboundary Ecosystem- SEMA (Serengeti Maasai Mara project).