Biodiversity offsets offer a promising option for promoting the conservation and sustainable management of natural ecosystems on an expanded scale. In an era of often flat--and sometimes declining--governmental support for conservation in general and protected areas in particular, biodiversity offsets can provide an underutilized opportunity to mobilize substantial new funding. This funding can come from public infrastructure accounts (such as for dams and roads) as well as from the private sector (including extractive industries).
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COMACO works with over 80,000 households in Zambia's Luangwa Valley and Eastern Province. It provides them with agricultural inputs (e.g. seeds, tools), training in conservation farming techniques, commodity transport and processing, and access to wholesale and retail markets under COMACO's "It's Wild" brand. Households achieve improved food security, increased incomes, and are incentivized through conditional price premiums and extensions assistance to conserve soils, water, forests, and wildlife.
Protected areas in South Africa present one of the best opportunities for economic development, especially for local communities living around them. It is understood that protected area wildlife based tourism initiatives contribute more than R2 billion to South Africa’s GDP. The solution is to create a guaranteed business opportunity for the locals through linkages of SMMEs with procurement revenue of a PA. The strategy is to assist PAs to identify goods and services and ring-fence procurement revenue for qualifying local SMMEs.