Southern African Development Community (SADC) is a regional intergovernmental organization with its headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana and comprising sixteen Partner States – Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Natural resources are vitally important to the economy of the region and to its growth. SADC and its Member States recognise the importance of improved use and stewardship of natural resources to ensure sustainable development and growth into the future. Important natural resources include forests, water, wildlife (aquatic, terrestrial and marine species) and minerals. To help protect these resources and foster regional cooperation, protocols and initiatives such as the development of TFCAs, have been spearheaded by SADC.

Under the Protocol of Wildlife Conservation and Law Enforcement, the 2013 SADC Programme for Transfrontier Conservation Areas defines its mission as developing SADC into a functional and integrated network of transfrontier conservation areas where shared natural resources are sustainably co-managed and conserved to foster socioeconomic development, and regional integration for the benefit of those living within and around TFCAs and mankind at large. The harmonization of policies and legislation in order to effectively manage these transfrontier conservation areas is a recognized part of SADC TFCA Programme. Read More


Policies and Legal Instruments

The protocol aims to promote the development, conservation, sustainable management and use of all types of forest and trees; trade in forest products and to achieve effective protection of the environment. Provides guidance on the undertaking of national forest assessments and national forest policies, programmes and laws. Policies and mechanisms adopted in Member States should enable local people and women to effectively participate in forest management activities as well as respect the traditional knowledge related to forests.

This protocol entered into force in 2003 and is legally binding for countries that have signed and ratified it. It provides the mechanisms for the conservation and management of shared resources while recognizing the rights of individual States to manage their respective wildlife resources. The Protocol’s objectives include harmonization of wildlife legal instruments; exchange of information relevant for wildlife conservation; national and regional capacity building for conservation; the establishment of transfrontier conservation areas; and the promotion of community-based resource management.

Many watercourses in the region are shared among several member states, a situation that demands their development in an environmentally sound manner. The Protocol aims to foster closer cooperation among Member States for protection, management, and use of shared watercourses in the region. Member States agree to cooperate on projects and exchange information on shared watercourses, consulting with each other and collaborating on initiatives that balance development of watercourses with conservation of the environment.

The strategy is aimed at providing a strategic framework for sustainable, integrated and coordinated development, use, protection and control of national and transboundary water resources in the SADC region. The document outlines the plans for implementing the strategy, including the associated targets in the Regional Indicative Strategic Action Plan and the strategic implementation Programme driven by the Regional Strategic Action Plans for the SADC Water Sector (RSAP). The document concludes with a discussion of the Monitoring and Evaluation indicators that will be used to provide oversight on the implementation framework.

The aim of these guidelines is to provide direction for management of tourism concessions in TFCAs within SADC, whilst ensuring that both the conservation and development objectives of regional TFCAs are met, including rural development and community participation. The main benefit of this guideline is to obtain basic information on how to encourage, develop and operate tourism concessions in TFCAs within SADC.

The SADC region has 15 major river basins which are transboundary. The policy provides the context and intent for water resources management at a SADC regional level, representing the aspirations and interests of Member States. The Protocol on Shared Watercourses is the legal instrument for the implementation of this policy, under which bilateral and multilateral agreements between Watercourse States may be developed.

The Protocol aims to promote responsible and sustainable use of the living aquatic resources and aquatic ecosystems of interest to State Parties, in order to: (i) promote and enhance food security and human health, (ii) safeguard the livelihood of fishing communities, (iii) generate economic opportunities from nationals in the region, (iv) ensure that future generations benefit from these renewable resources; and (v) alleviate poverty with the ultimate objective of its eradication.

The protocol sets out SADC’s objective to build upon the region’s potential as a tourist destination. SADC intends to ensure even distribution of tourism development throughout the region and to create a favourable environment for tourism, thereby using tourism as a vehicle for socioeconomic development.

TFCA Portal


The SADC TFCA Network was established in the same year as the TFCA Programme to accelerate implementation of the Programme and to enhance regional learning and cooperation between governments, implementers, the international donor community, community representatives, private sector and specialists in transfrontier conservation.

Specifically, they agreed to share information among practitioners and the public alike, to learn from each other and create and expand knowledge on TFCAs, to foster innovation on the ground as well as on policy level, to mobilize resources, and to contribute to the empowerment of the ultimate stewards of the natural resources, the communities.

To date, the network comprises of more than 350 members of all relevant stakeholder groups that communicate and share information through an anchor SADC TFCA Web-Portal ( The Network is embedded in the SADC Governance structures and guided by a Steering Committee comprising of the Secretariat and the Member States’ TFCA focal points.

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