On 9 December 2002, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTP) was proclaimed with the signing of an international treaty at Xai-Xai, Mozambique by the heads of state of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park straddles the borders of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe and joins some of the most established wildlife areas in Southern Africa into a huge conservation area of 35 000km² (± the size of the Netherlands) which is managed as an integrated unit across three international borders, Limpopo National Park (LNP) and forms the core of the second-phase transfrontier conservation area (TFCA), measuring almost 100 000km² and which includes Banhine and Zinave national parks, the Massingir and Corumana areas and interlinking regions in Mozambique, as well as various privately and state-owned conservation areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe bordering on the Transfrontier Park.
To achieve inter-state collaboration in the conservation of trans-boundary ecosystems and their associated biodiversity, promoting sustainable use of natural resources to improve the quality of life of the peoples of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
To collaboratively establish and manasge, on a sustainable basis, a viable Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park with full stakeholder participation, including local communities, fostering regional co-operation, biodiversity conservation, and cross-border socio-economic development.
Political borders very rarely respect ecological systems, and this transfrontier park will strive to re-establish historical animal migration routes and other ecosystem functions disrupted by fences and incompatible legislation. This unimpeded ecosystem will then also be jointly managed according to harmonised wildlife management policies, promoting the return of a larger and more resilient ecosystem with greater chances of long-term sustainability. Equally important, this park will provide jobs and opportunities to generate revenue for many of the thousands of local people affected by decades of civil war. Improving the lives of these rural communities will in turn further contribute towards biodiversity conservation by demonstrating the economic and social advantages to be achieved through conservation as an alternative and viable land-use option. The broad objectives for the establishment of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park are to:
- Foster transnational collaboration and co-operation between Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe in implementing ecosystem management, through the establishment, development and management of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park;
- Promote alliances in the management of biological natural resources by encouraging social, economic and other partnerships among the parties, private sector, local communities and NGO's;
- Enhance ecosystem integrity and natural ecological processes by harmonising environmental management procedures across international borders and striving to remove artificial barriers impeding the natural movement of animals;
- Develop frameworks and strategies whereby local communities can participate in and tangibly benefit from the management and sustainable use of natural resources that occur within the transfrontier park or TFCA;
- Facilitate the establishment and maintenance of a subregional economic base by way of appropriate development frameworks, strategies and work plans; and
- Develop trans-border eco-tourism as a means for fostering regional socio-economic development.