WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2024—The following statement was issued on behalf of WCS's Luthando Dziba:

Miombo woodlands are the world’s expansive dryland forest, spanning over 1.9 million km2 across more than eight countries within the greater Zambezi Basin. This extensive area plays a crucial role in global climate change mitigation and adaptation, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable development efforts. More than 250 million people live in Miombo areas, and the vast majority depend almost entirely on Miombo woodland resources for their livelihoods.

The high rate of deforestation and degradation of the Miombo forests, exacerbated by overharvesting for firewood, charcoal production for sale in urban areas, and conversion for agriculture, threatens not only biodiversity but also the livelihoods of people living in Miombo areas. There is an urgent need for large-scale financial resources to protect Miombo woodlands, their biodiversity, and the people who live in and depend on these forests.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) applauds the ambition of the Miombo Initiative unveiled by H.E. President Nyusi of Mozambique and State members of the Maputo Declaration, which calls for the creation of an innovative financial instrument to mobilize long-term funding for the conservation and restoration of Miombo woodlands. The collaboration will see the establishment of the first Funding Mechanism that focuses on advancing global support for the sustainable management of Miombo forests to ensure that Miombo woodlands continue to contribute to local and global climate change efforts and biodiversity conservation, as well as to the local and national economies and sustainable development of the Miombo countries and beyond.

This includes conserving critical areas within the Miombo Woodlands, such as Niassa Special Reserve in Mozambique, co-managed by WCS and the Administração Nacional das Áreas de Conservação (ANAC), and the Ruaha-Katavi Landscape in Tanzania. WCS has a longstanding partnership with government and local community partners to protect these critical landscapes and remains committed to supporting this government-led initiative through investment, science-based technical support, and active implementation.

This landmark initiative is a testimony to the commitment and leadership of the Miombo governments and their partners in ensuring sustainable development is fully aligned with the protection of nature.

The Miombo Initiative

The Miombo Summit was held in Washington, D.C. on April 16-17, 2024 to launch the Miombo Initiative, a collaborative effort showcasing the commitment of Miombo governments to positive change for both the environment and local communities. The Government of Mozambique leads the Miombo Initiative alongside other Miombo governments and key partners, including the International Conservation Caucus Foundation (ICCF), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), and the Rainforest Trust (RT).

This groundbreaking initiative seeks to rally international support for the sustainable management of Miombo Forests, aiming to deliver tangible benefits for biodiversity conservation, climate resilience, and community development.