On Earth Day 2022, the U.S. Government reaffirms its support for conservation law enforcement and sustainable forest management in the Niassa Special Reserve (NSR), Mozambique’s largest protected area. Working in partnership with the National Administration for Conservation Areas (ANAC), Wildlife Conservation Society, and private NSR concessionaires, these programs improve the protection of forests, water, and wildlife while improving the economic development of communities within the reserve.
Since 2015, the U.S. Government has committed $28 million in programs supporting the Niassa Special Reserve. Various segments of the U.S. Government contribute to build NSR staff capacity to support managing natural resources and combating wildlife and timber crimes. These agencies include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), and the United States Forest Service (USFS). These programs and partnerships with Mozambican government agencies have yielded great results:
- Only one elephant has been poached for ivory since 2018–a significant decrease from the thousands poached in the prior 20 years.
- Mozambique is developing a wood identification manual that will assist rangers, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and judges to counter timber trafficking and better enforce conservation laws.
- The Government of Mozambique has tried 22 suspects in court, resulting in 16 of them being found guilty and sentenced to jail with sentences ranging from 1 to 16 years in Niassa and Cabo Delgado provinces.
“U.S. Government support to the Niassa Special Reserve preserves an essential protected area and its large elephant populations, and our support helps increase household incomes and agricultural production in surrounding communities,” said U.S. Ambassador to Mozambique Peter H. Vrooman. “This work also helps Mozambique stop international criminal networks that fuel corruption and rob communities of their natural capital.” Larger than the country of Switzerland, the NSR is recognized as the most important protected area in Mozambique, crucial for the global conservation of wildlife, especially the African lion, wild dog and elephant.
Protecting wildlife, improving natural resource management, and promoting community involvement in conservation efforts in and around protected areas are critical components of the broader U.S. Government assistance in Mozambique. In close collaboration with the Government of Mozambique, the U.S. Government provides more than $500 million in annual assistance to help Mozambicans build a healthier, more democratic, more secure, and more prosperous county for all.
Additional Information on U.S. Government Support for the Niassa Special Reserve:
- USAID recently renewed the USAID Environmental Security and Resilience in Northern Mozambique (USAID ECOSMART-2) program that works with NSR staff to improve administrative management and law enforcement, increase wildlife monitoring, and develop community conservation initiatives in the reserve. Implemented by the Wildlife Conservation Society, this new five-year, $10 million program will also promote better coordination and data sharing between the reserve and private NSR concessionaires.
- INL supports the Wildlife Conservation Society to reduce the risk of poaching and illegal trafficking of endangered wildlife in the NSR—through a multi-pronged approach focused on increased law enforcement, judicial, and prosecutorial capacity, enhanced transboundary countering of wildlife trafficking cooperation with Tanzania, and aerial surveillance. USAID and USFS also partner with ANAC, the Mozambican Supreme Court, and Mozambique’s Attorney-General’s Office to increase the law enforcement and legal sector capacity to counter wildlife and timber trafficking.
- To better detect and analyze the rise of wildfires, USAID and the USFS partnered with Mozambique’s ANAC and the Wildlife Conservation Society to create fire management plans. The team is using near real-time data from multiple satellite sources to monitor fires and gather the information needed to analyze their pattern.
- More than 26,000 people have directly benefited from U.S. Government-funded, sustainable natural resource management and/or biodiversity conservation in the Niassa Special Reserve. Through activities such as honey production, livestock and poultry management, and seed distribution, neighboring communities have increased their income and improved agriculture production.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy in Mozambique.