LILONGWE, Malawi, April 19, 2021 (AEJ) - A major ecosystem restoration initiative is set to turn part of Lilongwe city as a vibrant and robust ecological corridor. In turn, this will improve the presence of wildlife and other biological related species separate from human activities and urban infrastructure, AEJ has learnt.
The ecological corridor will help the Lilongwe city council to spur its urban environmental sustainability through world a classy wildlife sanctuary, simulating tourism and recovery, ecosystem services, connecting people with nature and expanding environmental education.
The corridor developments were made public last Thursday, during an engagement meeting with the council in partnership with the Lilongwe Wildlife Center (LWT) and members of the Association of Environmental Journalists (AEJ)
Allan Kwanjana, Director of Parks and Recreation at Lilongwe City Council’s explained that the initiative’s aims is to restore the natural state of the city’s ecosystem.
“The city is surrounded by a lot of rivers and streams like the Lilongwe and Lingadzi rivers which at the moment are not in good state. We would like to have an environmental ecological initiative along these rivers to restore the glory that used to be there,” said Kwanjana.
He said about MK100 million has been set aside for the first phase of the project where the council is also planning to construct a recreation park to be situated within the city in Area 13.
According to Kwanjana, the idea was mooted through the public sector reforms. It will be implemented hand in hand with Project Greenheart which is being spearheaded by the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre where the corridor passes through. LWT manages part of the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary, one of the remaining urban green spaces under the Department of National Parks and Wildlife.
Ian D’heygere, LWT General Manager said environmental conservation is critical and key. He added that it is disheartening to see degradation that has been happening in the surrounding areas over the years.
“We have managed to secure $220,000 for the vet clinic and an additional $50,000 for the educational center just within where people can come for both learning and recreation purposes,” D’heygere told AEJ on Monday in an interview.
He called upon citizens countrywide to embrace the initiative and to appreciate the presence of the Wildlife Centre which covers about 74 hectares of land. The aim is to transform Lilongwe into a green, clean and prosperous city and put it on the map. This will improve recreation services they are offering through value addition.
Mathews Malata, President of the Association of Environmental Journalists commended the initiative saying it will go a long way in reclaiming the city’s lost glory.
He said Lilongwe City was built on the premise of a garden city. Unfortunately, most of its green spaces have been lost, it was pleasing that authorities are re-investing in urban green spaces which is of paramount importance.
Malata, reminded journalists to profile places of natural heritage so that people patronize and appreciate the importance of conserving these areas.
Lilongwe ecological corridor feeds into the bigger continental picture of African Forest Landscape Restoration (AFR100) Initiative. This is a pan-African effort to scale up forest landscape restoration across 100 million hectares in Africa by 2030. It seeks fair and equitable access to land and forest resources for all stakeholders and promotes rights of local and indigenous communities, including youth and women.
AFR100 Initiative is working towards reaching various United Nations Conventions inclusive of Land Degradation Neutrality, the multiple Sustainable Development Goals, and the decade on Ecosystem Restoration and Family Farming as well as the Bonn Challenge and the Great Green Wall Initiative.
Additional reporting by Charles Mkoka First appeared on Mana online