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    The Natural Resources of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are vitally important to the economy of the region and its growth. SADC and its Member States recognise the importance of improved utilisation and stewardship of natural resources in order to ensure sustainable development and growth into the future. Specifically, it is understood that unsustainable extraction and improper management of natural resources could have dire consequences for the region as a whole.

    Through capacity building and regional integration, SADC assists its Member States to address sustainable use of Natural Resources, while reducing poverty - two key aspects of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Important Natural Resources include Water, Wildlife and Minerals. To help protect these resources and foster regional cooperation, protocols and initiatives such as the development of Transfrontier Conservation Areas, have been spearheaded by SADC.

    Forests, Wildlife, and Transfrontier Conservation Areas fall under the mandate of SADC’s Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate and are supported by two important protocols - Protocol on Forestry (2002) and Protocol on Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement (1999). Water Resources are addressed under the mandate of the Infrastructure and Services Directorate, and transboundary water resources are governed by the Revised Protocol on Shared Watercourses (2000).

    SADC addresses Natural Resources issues within the Southern African region by focusing on four key areas:

    • Forests

      The forests of the SADC region support rich biodiversity and contribute to poverty reduction and climate change mitigation in a variety of ways.

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    • Wildlife

      Wildlife is important for local subsistence and livelihoods, and contributes significantly to regional tourism activities.

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    • Transfrontier Conservation Areas

      Regional cooperation is necessary when countries share conservation areas. Transfrontier Conservation Areas play a critical role in conservation and support biodiversity through the provision of extended, contiguous protected areas.

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    • Water

      Water is a fundamental and scarce resource in the SADC region that requires regional cooperation to accommodate competing needs for water allocation, use and water quality management, as well as hydroelectric power generation.

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    • Fisheries

      Developing a reliable food source, improved handling and processing, aquaculture.

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