Environment and Economics


Integrating economic and environmental decision-making is a key challenge that policy and decision-makers are grappling with. Meaningful decisions can only be achieved upon full recognition of the linkages between macroeconomic policies and sustainable development. Participation by all stakeholders is critical if sound decisions are to be made.

The main objective of this project was to explore the linkages between macroeconomic reforms policies and programmes and sustainable development with particular focus on the tourism sector in Zimbabwe.

The project had three main components, research which constituted gathering of evidence both at the national and the local level, capacity building whose focus was on equipping policy makers and other stakeholders with some of the critical tools for sustainable development and advocacy on the main findings and recommendations from the research. 

Capacity building is critical in any sustainable development effort. As part of this realization three officers from ZERO, one officer from the Ministry of Finance and the National Economic Planning Commission respectively attended a training of trainers course held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from 20-27 February 1999. Capacity building was a critical component of this project. Capacity building is focused on two levels of practitioners within public, private sector and NGOs. At the senior management level capacity building is in the form of policy dialogue to review and discuss policy issues and options of making the economy more competitive within the context of the reforms, taking full advantage of the abundant natural resources and the tourism potential. At the junior and middle management level, capacity building is focused on skills building for more sustainable natural resources management. 

Outcomes from capacity building activities developed an appreciation of the linkages between macroeconomic reforms and sustainable development. developed an understanding of the role and importance of tourism and sustainable natural resources management in the context of macroeconomic reforms. gained among other things, appropriate skills to attach values to natural resources and the environment for more sustainable natural resources management. couple of written requests and telephone calls requesting for more training workshops for junior and middle management were received. project proposal was developed as a spin off from the Macroeconomics project to explore the potential of tourism as a complementary land use system to agriculture within the overall Land Reform Programme. 

Regional Seminar - Zanzibar.

As part of the research process and administration consultation, project partners were sent for a week long regional seminar in Zanzibar from 1 March to 6 March 1999. 

Apart from the key issues that came out of the research, which included a realization of the need to direct the development of the tourism sector in an equitable way, that is, encouraging greater participation of local communities and sharing of the benefits, the participatory approach of the research process generated greater awareness of tourism by local communities. This included acknowledgement of CAMPFIRE as a form of tourism, "consumptive tourism" by local communities, some of whom despite benefiting from the programme would still argues that they have not benefited from the tourism sector. This acknowledgement was evidenced by the number of proposed tourism related projects that came out as working examples during training of local communities. In fact one of the communities that participated in the training programme followed up on the training programme by establishing a conservation/tourism project with an established management structure and invited ZERO to assist them with some further training and resources for the implementation of their project.

With the interest that the capacity building component seemed to have generated among those that have so far attended the workshops, one can only hope that a lot more impact will eventually be evident as capacity building will now be handled as part of the advocacy process, making the training more relevant to the findings and recommendations of the research, that project finally reached the advocacy stage. 

This project was funded by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)-International's Macroeconomics for Sustainable Development Programme Office (MPO)