Biodiversity, Livelihoods and Counter Wildlife Trafficking

Speeches Shim


Mozambique´s abundant natural resources and geography create both opportunities and risks.  The exploitation of oil, gas and minerals as well as biodiversity, such as wildlife, fisheries and forests,  help to promote economic growth but when conducted unsustainably, fuel corruption and often lead to resource conflict.  The long coastline and extensive borders serve as a commercial gateway to six countries and transcontinental trade routes. Gorongosa National Park and the vast Niassa National Reserve are fragile refuge areas for lions, elephants and other endangered species threatened by rampant poaching  for bush meat and wildlife trafficking. Low-lying coastal plains cover nearly half of the land mass leaving large parts of the country vulnerable to cyclones and extreme flooding, including important population, commerce and trade centers.


Biodiversity attracts tourism and promotes economic growth, and in turn, a well-managed tourist sector helps to protect wildlife and ecosystems. In Mozambican national parks and coastal cities alike, USAID supports programs that conserve biodiversity, promote resilience, benefit local communities, and cut off  organized criminal networks from the profits of wildlife trafficking. USAID works with government and private sector partners to protect wildlife and manage natural resources, promote sustainable tourism and tangible social and economic improvements for communities in and surrounding protected areas. USAID assistance to end poaching and trafficking enables effective law enforcement and governance.

NIASSA NATIONAL RESERVE: Alliance for Ecosystem Conservation, markets and tourism (ECOSMART)

The largest protected area in Mozambique is the Niassa National Reserve (NNR), harboring one of Africa’s greatest concentrations of wildlife, including 70% of the nation´s elephants and over 30% of lions. The Reserve is also home to about 40,000 people who depend on the reserve´s fish, water, timber, soil, and meat for their livelihoods.  The NNR is under significant threat from unmanaged commercial logging, illegal artisanal mining, and rampant wildlife poaching. USAID works with the Wildlife Conservation Society on the ECOSMART Project (a five year Global Development Alliance partnership between USAID, WCS and the NNR’s three tourism operators, Luwire, Chuilexi and Mariri) to strengthen government planning and monitoring capacity, law enforcement, as well as promotes income generating and revenue sharing plans to improve the social and economic status of residents and deter cooperation with traffickers. The ECOSMART Global Development Alliance is assisting the larger national protected area system to collect information on major criminal poaching and trafficking networks operating in the area and building wildlife law enforcement cooperation to abate wildlife crime


Civil war and rampant poaching during the 1960’s and early 1970’s resulted in the dramatic decline of wildlife (99% of buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra) in this national park once heralded as a premier protected area of southern Africa. USAID partners with the Gorongosa Project founded by the Carr Foundation through the Integrated Gorongosa and Buffer Zone Program (2015-2020) to ensure residents surrounding the park participate in the benefits of its protection and defend it. While strengthening local capacity to enforce wildlife laws and regulations, the project uses its expertise in the buffer zone communities to improve health and education services, foster science leadership, and enables farmers to increase agricultural production for improved nutrition and livelihoods.


Mozambique´s coastal cities are trade and commercial hubs, and the main drivers of the country´s economic development. Extreme weather events such as cyclones, flooding, and drought impose high costs on these cities and their large populations, harming health, infrastructure, and marine biodiversity. USAID´s Coastal Cities Adaptation Project (2013-18) works with municipalities and communities to execute disaster risk reduction strategies, build resilience, and create insurance products and contingency funds through public-private cooperation in Cabo Delgado, Nampula, and Zambezia Provinces to reduce costly losses to infrastructure and livelihood assets.


48 prosecutors received training on poaching and wildlife trafficking crimes and law enforcement, justice, and local officials are more aware of how to remove obstacles to prosecuting wildlife trafficking offenders. 

USAID grants enable civil society groups to educate the public on diverse natural resource governance issues: biodiversity conservation and anti-trafficking, reducing risk from extreme weather events, and the extractive industry. 

USAID support allowed the government´s first public destruction of 2.4 tons of ivory and 193 kg of rhino horn in 2015

USAID’s policy reform activities help lead to the promulgation of the Conservation Law in 2016 to promote the conservation of protected areas and biodiversity, and increase penalties for wildlife crimes. 

In Gorongosa, USAID´s integrated biodiversity conservation and human development program supports the deployment of 150 Law Enforcements Scouts, education materials for primary schools in the buffer zone, agriculture productivity training for 2000 farmers, and support to 235 community health workers who provide basic services and referrals.

After decades, Niassa National Reserve now has an operational headquarters and sector camps for strengthened conservation management and wildlife law enforcement.

The first SMS natural disaster early warning system was created and implemented with the National Institute of Disaster Management. 

Issuing Country 
Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - 8:15am