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Top photo – Former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and Greg Carr (GRP) signing the MoU.

Friday, November 10th, 2023
The Joaquim Chissano Foundation and the Gorongosa Restoration Project signed an agreement on November 1st, 2023 to promote sustainable development in Sofala Province. Their initiative will protect the environment, promote regenerative agriculture, create employment for families, advance education for young people and foster gender equality.

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Former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and Greg Carr (GRP).

“We’ll work to protect biodiversity as we also generate economic activity through nature-based businesses” stated the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano.

Greg Carr praised President Chissano’s vision. He explained that President Chissano was one of the first people to reimagine the role of a national park as a human development engine as well a biodiversity reservoir, and that the former President understood that those two goals would be reinforcing. “He invited me to Mozambique 21 years ago. Today I am happy to say that Gorongosa is a large source of employment in the Province of Sofala. We work with 100 schools and thousands of farm families. We train young Mozambicans in conservation science and we provide support in rural health care,” said Carr.
Gorongosa as a Human Rights Park.

In the 20th Century, the world did not have an enlightened view about how national parks (and other forms of “protected areas”) reside within a larger region where humans create livelihoods and care for their families. The old view is known as “fortress conservation”. Parks were managed with the limited vision that rangers would protect wildlife inside the park (and tourists would enjoy them), and the local people (who have inhabited the region since “before time”) would stay outside the Park. This view fails:

1. Natural ecosystems do not conform to human boundaries on a map. Water catchments, biodiversity corridors, and climate systems are usually unrelated to the boundaries of a national park, which were likely created as political jurisdictions.

2. The fortress approach to a national park falls short of our 21st century aspirations for human rights and the sovereignty and dignity of indigenous peoples.

To remedy this, the Gorongosa Project entered into a co-management contract with the Government of Mozambique not only to restore the depleted ecosystem of the Park itself, but to support the families who live in a defined area around the Park called the “Sustainable Development Zone”. The architects of the Gorongosa Project received their vision from Mozambique’s President Joaquim Chissano, and his friend, South Africa’s President Nelson Mandela. As presidents of neighboring countries in the early 2000’s, they created the concept of a “Peace Park”. They developed the idea of a national park whose mission is to serve it’s human neighbors, recognizing that a healthy regional ecosystem is good for humans and good for wildlife. Moreover, they were addressing historical wrongs by creating this new paradigm. The beauty, biodiversity and natural bounty of a national park belongs to the people who share that landscape. It is the local people’s cultural and spiritual heritage.

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Former President of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano and former Presidemt of South Africa Nelson Mandela.

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