TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE REVIEW AND REFORM OF THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE ACT: Opportunities for Incorporating 21st Century Sustainable Wildlife Management Principles


DEADLINE:28 March 2021


Zimbabwe has a very rich and diversified biodiversity. The country is home to 4,440-5,930 plant species, 270-350 mammals, 530-670 birds, 156 reptiles, 120 amphibians and 131 fish.[1] The wildlife sector housed all the “Big Five” – African elephant, white and black rhinos, lion, buffalo and leopard – but also many species of antelopes, zebras and giraffes. The majority of the big five are in protected areas which constitute approximately 27.2% of the country`s total land area. The protected areas network consists of national parks (12.0%), wildlife estates and gazetted forests (2.0%), conservancies (2.0%), sanctuaries and wildlife management areas such as the Community Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) (11.2%).  The country is home to 82,000 elephants, the second largest population after Botswana with an estimated 130,000 elephants. With this rich and diversified wildlife sector, the sector has over the year made significant contribution to the Zimbabwean economy through wildlife-based tourism. International tourism receipts in Zimbabwe averaged USD182.4 million between 2013 and 2018; while tourism’s contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ranged between 6.3% to 7.2% over the same period.

Notwithstanding the great potential of the sector and its economic contribution, the sector faces multiple sustainable wildlife management challenges such as growing cases of illegal wildlife trade, poaching, human wildlife conflicts, poisoning of wildlife and the new threat of mining in protected areas. These challenges are rooted in legislative and policy gaps  primarily the Parks and Wildlife Act (PWA)  [Chapter 20:14] The PWA was enacted in 1975 during colonial rule and was inherited by the post-colonial state at independence in 1980. Although the PWA has been updated through amendments from time to time, there has been no signticant overhaul to the parent legislation since 1975.[2] The current Parks and Wildlife Act is outdated given the conservation challenges that have emerged that require a robust legal and regulatory framework. Despite previous strong government commitments towards conservation, Zimbabwe faces several challenges such as habitat erosion, poaching for illegal wildlife trade,[3] increasing incidence of Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWC) and retaliatory killing[4], change in land tenure , the rights of communities and climate change consequences.[5] These changes coupled with rapidly growing, urbanising and globalizing economy,  call upon reforms of the Parks and Wild Life Act to provide a flexible legislative base that is quickly able to respond to current and future demands in light of recent 21st century Sustainable Wildlife Management  (SWM) principles.

Also, the current legal system relies heavily on the criminal law and tends therefore to stigmatize as ‘criminals’ those found guilty of an offence. Criminalizing regulatory transgressions may not always be the most appropriate or effective way of ensuring beneficial outcomes. In certain circumstances it may be better to provide the non-compliant individual or organization with advice or guidance.[6] At the other end of the scale, the criminalization of harmful activities and the sentences available has not been severe enough to control certain serious transgressions. The available levels of fine can easily be absorbed by high profit-earning businesses. On that basis, there is need for more serious sanctions and effective economic tools such as the possibility of preventing those committing serious transgressions from continuing to carry out a particular business activity until they can prove that their future behavior will accord with the Parks and Wildlife Act.

As a result of the weak regulatory instrument there is also weak inter-departmental coordination between government agencies responsible for biodiversity conservation regardless of them falling under the same Ministry. These existing weaknesses are evident through the lack of implementation and or enforcement and harmonization of wildlife biodiversity management laws and policies. Divergent biodiversity management approaches also exist between public sector agencies and other institutions on biodiversity issues, law enforcement and on approaches to address challenges such as mining-induced siltation and land degradation. These existing conflicts are reflected in the lack of harmonized reporting and monitoring on multilateral environmental agreements to leverage resources, especially with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD),[7] the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (RAMSAR),[8] the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC),[9] the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)[10] and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).[11]

It is worthy noting that in the more than four decades that have passed since its enactment of the PWA, there have been many changes in society with implications for wildlife management. In 2016 for instance the Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry commissioned a comprehensive stakeholders’ review of the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). The review highlighted several weaknesses in CAMPFIRE and one of the weaknesses is that the enabling environment for CAMPFIRE is limited – there is partial devolution of Appropriate Authority (AA). Following the CAMPFIRE review the Government accepted and adopted the recommendation for devolution of AA to community wildlife production units. The PWA is not in sync with these policy changes in wildlife management.

In 2018, the Government of Zimbabwe developed a Wildlife Policy that led to the development of the Human Wildlife Conflict Policy. Both the Wildlife Policy and the Human Wildlife Conflict are supposed to feed into the Parks and Wildlife Act. This means that the overarching law must be reviewed and reformed to make its provisions consistent with these new policies. In 2020, the Government adopted a New Development Strategy ( NDS1). It proposes the creation of community wildlife conservancies and partnerships as one of the strategies to improve protected area management.There are also a number of new laws and policies that were formulated after 1975 that may undermine the effectiveness of the Parks and Wildlife Act notably the 2013 Constitution of Zimbabwe that created new rights and obligations that have serious implications on widlifle management[12], the Environmental Management Act of 2003, the National Environmental Policy and Strategies of 2009, the Wildlife Based Land Reform Policy, the Climate Change Policy of 2018 and the draft Forest Policy of 2017. Consequently, there is the need for a review and reform of the Parks and Wildlife Act to address some of the challenges and to align the Act with these current laws and policies that relate to the sector for effective biodiversity and environment management.

Clearly the PWA is outdated and irrelevant as most of its provisions are not in sync with the principles SWM. SWM is the sound management of wildlife species to sustain their populations and habitat over time, considering the socio-economic needs of human populations.[13] The concept of SWM goes beyond the protection of interests related to hunting and protection for individual species, and rather focuses on wildlife as a renewable natural resource in a holistic way.[14] SWM is anchored around the following principles:

  • Principle 1: Developing wildlife policy
  • Principle 2: Drafting clear and understandable legislation in a participatory way
  • Adopting an integrated and multidisciplinary approach
  • Avoiding legislative overreaching
  • Ensuring clarity in the institutional set up and inter institutional coordination
  • Involving local communities and the private sector in wildlife management
  • Guaranteeing public participation in decision making

To achieve the goals of SWM, the law is a key tool as it sets direction and parameters for protection and use of wild animals. In conformity to the changing needs of SWM national legislation and regional and international best practices has shifted from narrow command and control, to a more comprehensive approach based on broader concepts such as the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. However, the PWA in Zimbabwe has remained nonresponsive to the growing demand of managing wildlife sustainably through a reform of wildlife law. Against this backdrop the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) seeks to engage the services of a legal expert to review the PWA aligning it to sustainable wildlife management principles and other legal and policy developments in Zimbabwe.


  • The overall objective of this consultancy is to review the PWA aligning it to sustainable wildlife management principles and other legal and policy developments in Zimbabwe.


Based on the review of the PWA, ZELA intends to engage policy makers to influence reform of the PWA. As a way of advocating for recommendations of this review to be taken on board, ZELA will convene a high level policy dialogue with relevant stakeholders to table and share input from the review.

Scope of Work

  • Conduct a detailed review and analysis of  the Parks and Widlife Act and related policies to identify gaps and weakenses when measured against best international , regional and national principles ( Principles of Sustainble Widlife Management )
  • Indentify institutional and coordination gaps
  • Make recommendations on how the Parks and Widlife can be strengthened and aligned with modern day trends based on the principles of SWM
  • Development of a 2-pager policy position paper on the review of the PWA
  • Convening and facilitation of a policy dialogue meeting to share findings from the review of the PWA and finalise the research based on comments from the meeting
  • Take part and present the research findings during 2 High Level Natural Resource Governance Dialogues that ZELA will convene in 2021


  • A comprehensive report on the review of the PWA detailing its weakneses including coordination and institutional gaps
  • A 2-page policy position paper based on the review.
  • Presentation(s) for the 2 High Level Natural Resource Dialogues


The consultancy shall be for 15 days. The consultancy commences on 6 April 2021.

Supervision of the work

The consultant will work under the direct and overall supervision of the Executive Director of ZELA and the Coordinator of the Africa Institute for Environmental Law

Profile/ Consultancy Requirements

  • At least a Master level university degree in Ecosystems, Wildlife Management, Law, Political Science or other relevant disciplines. 
  • Minimum of 5-10 years of experience in wildlife management and CBNRM research
  • Good knowledge and understanding of natural resource governance an advantage especially wildlife .
  • Proven excellent communication and facilitation skills, including in multi-cultural settings.
  • Excellent and proven analytical skills.
  • Excellent and proven English writing skills.
  • Relevant experience in related or similar assignments.
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills, ability to prioritize and work with minimum supervision.

To apply

Interested and qualified Consultants who meet the above requirements should send their application clearly stating how they meet the requirements, methodology to be used and cost of the consultancy to: procurementzw@gmail.com  by the 28th of  March 2021. The title of the consultancy should be clearly stated in the email subject.

[1] http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/wwf_offices/zimbabwe/ ;MEWC 2014. Zimbabwe’s Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biodiversity.

[2] . The Act remains the primary law regulating the sector with minor amendments made on it, the last of which was in 2001 through Act 19 of 2001.

[3] Zimbabwe’s Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) states that poaching in wildlife estates had resulted in a loss of more than US$ 47,531,500 during 2009-2012. Republic of Zimbabwe. Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate available at https://www.cbd.int/doc/world/zw/zw-nr-05-en.pdf accessed on 24 January 2019.

[4] According to the CAMPFIRE Association, HWC in Zimbabwe’s communal areas resulted in the loss of 88 lives, over 5,000 livestock, 6,000 hectares of crops, and damage of irrigation and water supply infrastructure during the period 2010-2015 available at http://campfirezimbabwe.org/index.php/projects-t/13-human-wildlife-conflict accessed on 1 February 2019.

[5] E Shumba and A Carlson ‘Status of and Response to Climate Change in Southern Africa: Case Studies in Malawi, Zambia And Zimbabwe’ World Wildlife Fund 2011.

[6] A Luttenberger and L.R Luttenberger ‘Challenges In Regulating Environmental Crimes’ 7th International Maritime Science Conference April 20th-21st, 2017, Solin, Croatia.

[7] See https://www.unccd.int/.

[8] See https://www.ramsar.org/.

[9] See https://unfccc.int/.

[10] See https://www.cbd.int/.

[11] See https://www.cites.org/eng/disc/what.php.

[12] These includes access to information , partiticipation and accountability. Communities are also expected to benefit from the exploitation of resources found in their localities including wildlife

[13] https://www.cbd.int/doc/decisions/cop-14/cop-14-dec-07-en.pdf

[14] https://www1.sun.ac.za/awei/sites/default/files/Technical_series_3.pdf

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