AHEAD Update – September 2006

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*I should again note that if you wish to be removed from this e-mail list please just let me know. My hope is to keep parties interested in Animal Health for the Environment And Development up-to-date on developments post-Durban World Parks Congress over time, but I certainly understand if anyone wants to opt out of receiving such messages. Updates are also posted (and archived) on the AHEAD website at www.wcs-ahead.org. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html.

If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to me- thanks!

*Happy Birthday AHEAD!!! It was 3 years ago this month that AHEAD was launched at the IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. Thanks to all of you who have contributed to the ongoing evolution and growth of AHEAD from a pioneering interdisciplinary concept into an exciting cross-sectoral program!

*The Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS), University of Zimbabwe is pleased to announce that they have been granted funds by IDRC (Canada's International Development Research Centre) totaling US$ 543,716 for a five year project entitled "Local level scenario planning, iterative assessment and adaptive management." The project will be implemented by CASS in collaboration with the Institute for Natural Resources (INR), University of KwaZulu Natal, in rural communities in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Mozambique living within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA). The project aims to enhance the collective ability of these communities to devise, implement and adapt their natural resource management regimes so as to maximize the conservation and livelihood benefits they obtain from those resources and their location in the GLTFCA through the use of scenario planning and the resulting social learning, self-assessment and adaptive management. The project is a module under the AHEAD GLTFCA Programme's Theme #4: “Human livelihoods, animal and ecosystem health." The scenario planning project is expected to improve the understanding of GLTFCA planners of the needs and aspirations of resident populations and enhance local influence in overall planning and implementation. The first year of the project will consist of planning modalities, fostering collaboration with other potential partners, and confirming pilot sites in the three countries. Project concept meetings are planned for later in the year, and CASS looks forward to the participation of all interested stakeholders. Congratulations to Jeanette Manjengwa, Marshall Murphree, and the CASS team on this tremendous success!

*Scenario Planning technical process underway in AHEAD GLTFCA program: The use of scenario planning as a tool to assist in visualizing and preparing for the management of complex systems has been recognized for some time and is becoming increasingly popular in a wide range of fields. With support from the Sand County Foundation, USAID and WCS, the first phase of scenario planning within the GLTFCA has begun under Mike Murphree's leadership. This process will continue at a technical level under the AHEAD umbrella, and will be complemented by the community-level scenario planning project being led by CASS (University of Zimbabwe) and funded by IDRC (Canada) as summarized above. At this stage, the approach is still quite experimental. The demand-driven process has now had inception discussions in all three GLTFCA countries:

Zimbabwe: Through the South East Lowveld Collaborative Research (SELCORE) programme, and related to the proposed establishment of the multi-stakeholder South East Lowveld Wildlife Association (SELWA), scenario planning was identified as an important undertaking that would be useful in guiding the development of the Association. This desire was expressed at a recent SELCORE meeting held at Malilangwe (July ’06).

Mozambique: The TFCA programme within the National Directorate of the Areas of Conservation (DNAC), Ministry of Tourism, has also expressed a keen interest in initiating a scenario planning process within the GLTFCA.

South Africa: The institutional framework in South Africa is provided by South African National Parks (SANParks). The first part of a scenario planning exercise was conducted in Skukuza in August ‘06. This process was a valuable learning experience and built nicely upon discussions that had occurred in previous AHEAD GLTFCA Working Group meetings. By the end of the process, the group had identified their key questions and the critical system drivers, trying to delineate both the predictable and unpredictable. The next phase will be to develop the scenarios themselves, and this process is ongoing.

Next stages:

1. In South Africa a second session is being planned, possibly for November ‘06. In the interim, Mike Murphree will take the current data and set it up for scenario creation. In Mozambique, Mike Murphree will work with Drs. Soto and Madope on initiating the formal process. In Zimbabwe, the process will be guided by the establishment of the SELWA, and Mike Murphree has agreed to assist in facilitating this scenario planning process.

For those who have not been able to participate, would like to participate or would like further information, please feel free to contact Mike Murphree at murphreem@ukzn.ac.za.

* New collaborative initiative brings AHEAD and the WCS GAINS (Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance) program together: The Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, in partnership with the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute and WCS, is in final discussions about leading implementation of the southern African component of the USAID-funded GAINS initiative. The goal will be to undertake a regional study of the distributions and movements of ducks and the prevalence of avian influenza viruses in wild duck populations in five sites spread across South Africa (Strandfontein in the Cape, and Barberspan in Northern Province), Mozambique (still under evaluation; potentially Gorongosa), Botswana (Makgadikgadi Pans and Lake Ngami), and Zimbabwe (Lake Chivero and other lakes near Harare). The primary aims of the project will be twofold: first, to document the prevalence of influenza viruses (i.e., including but not limited to H5 strains) in wild duck populations in southern Africa; and second, to obtain a better understanding of the regional movement patterns of wild water birds. Samples for influenza testing will be collected from ducks at each site. These data will be supplemented by standardized duck counts, measures of water quality and quantity, and a range of other satellite image-derived measures of habitat type and quality. Ducks of two species, red-billed teal and Egyptian geese (which are ducks, despite their common name), will be tracked using GPS telemetry. The results of the study will contribute to a regional and global understanding of the potential role of wild birds in the epidemiology of avian influenzas, as well as shedding light on patterns of duck movements through the year and the causes of nomadism in duck populations in semi-arid areas. The first year of USAID support for this southern Africa GAINS module is likely to total $229,000 – with additional support coming from the participating collaborators. For more information on the Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance, see www.gains.org . For more information on the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, see http://web.uct.ac.za/depts/fitzpatrick/.

*The next full AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group meeting will likely be held in early '07, instead of late '06 due to scheduling challenges. Stay tuned for further information in future AHEAD Updates.

*New SANParks Policy Integrator (Human Livelihoods, Animal and Systems Health Linkages in TFCAs) hired! As per the job search announced in the previous AHEAD Update, we are truly excited to announce that SANParks has filled this critical position. Nichola (Nicky) Shongwe completed her medical degree at the University of Cape Town and has a post-graduate Diploma in Child Health. After practicing as a physician full-time for several years, she decided to diversify and explore other areas which included business management and brand management studies, as well as visual arts. Other pursuits have included lecturing on creative development at an advertising school in Johannesburg, and working in television. Nicky now joins SANParks with the title Manager: Conservation and Human Livelihoods, where she will be working primarily on the AHEAD program.

*Several organizations have recently been added to the LINKs section of the AHEAD website at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. We are pleased to now have links in place to the SADC Biodiversity Support Program, the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology / University of Cape Town, WWF-SARPO, and the Rungwa-Ruaha Living Landscapes Conservation Program – all very important collaborating institutions / programs.

*New Post-Doctoral Fellowships available for 2007-2008: World Wildlife Fund is announcing the opening of its 2007-2008 Kathryn Fuller Fellowship competition. Two post-doctoral fellowships will be awarded for a two year period to individuals with outstanding research proposals that are of fundamental and immediate importance to global biodiversity conservation. Fuller Fellows can be based at any institution and will be co-advised by one academic and one WWF mentor. Fellows are provided a stipend of $50,000 per year, as well as a $15,000 annual research allowance. Applicants should have received a doctorate degree between January 2002 and January 2007. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2006. Offers will be made in the spring of 2007, with fellowships to begin in the fall of 2007. For more information, application guidelines, and on-line application forms, please visit www.worldwildlife.org/sfn, or contact WWF-US at 1-202-778-9742 or fuller.fellowship@wwfus.org. Again, the application deadline is November 15, 2006.

*UNDP Small Grants for local NGOs: UNDP supports a range of projects with civil society organizations (CSOs) and indigenous people’s organizations under the category of small grants programs. The Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (SGP/GEF) and the Local Initiative Facility for Urban Environment (LIFE) are examples of such programs aimed at promoting consensus-building and participatory decision-making processes. They are designed and implemented in a decentralized manner. The grant amounts tend to range from $5,000 to $100,000 depending on the proposal. Applications are received in rolling basis. For further information about how to apply for this grant, please contact the SGP office in your country or use this contact email: marie.khan@undp.org Web site: http://sgp.undp.org/

*Community Radio Manual available from Open Society Foundation for South Africa. Published in 1999, the Community Radio Manual is a learning and training text which includes sections on community participation in radio development, a history of community radio, the legal and regulatory environment, development of mission statements and drama production. The manual is written for community radio personnel who speak English as a second language. Available at http://www.comminit.com/africa/materials/ma2003/materials-1631.html
[Source: Institute for Health and Development Communication, Soul Beat Africa: Communication for Change, August 2006]

*Regional TFCAs in the news –

New Transfrontier Park Key for Regional Eco-Tourism
Mail & Guardian Online – Johannesburg, South Africa- 16 August 2006
The Great Limpopo Transfrontier National Park, which links three countries, is a unique opportunity for Southern African eco-tourism and cooperation, said President Thabo Mbeki on Wednesday at the opening of the park's border post. "Today, our wild animals -- the elephants, rhino, antelope and many others -- are once again beginning to roam freely within the Great Limpopo Transfrontier National Park," said Mbeki. "They teach us valuable lessons. And we, the people, now have another possibility to reach out and join hands in partnership, co-operation and interdependence." Mbeki was speaking at the opening of the Giriyondo border post at the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park....
The border post was opened by Mbeki, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe. Mbeki called Giriyondo "just the beginning of a new era when we will bring down the colonial fences, which divided our nations over several centuries."
see http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=280953&area=/
for the rest of the story.

New Game Park to Straddle SA, Zim and Botswana
Mail & Guardian Online – Johannesburg, South Africa - 22 June 2006
Richard Davies | Shashe River, Botswana
A pact for a new transfrontier game park straddling the borders between Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe was signed on Thursday. The environment ministers of the three countries endorsed the agreement in Botswana on the dry bed of the Shashe River. Once proclaimed, the Limpopo-Shashe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) will cover 4 872 square kilometres, almost a quarter the size of the Kruger National Park.
See http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx?articleid=275183&area=/
for the rest of the story.

If you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let me know – thanks.

All the best,