The development of Coutada 5 will take heed of the needs and aspirations of the people living in the Coutada. Most of the estimated 50 000 plus people living in the Coutada reside in the major coastal towns or settlements of Machanga and Divinhe, and the settlement at Jofane about 100 km upstream next to the Rio Save. The more remote regions, constituting some 85% of the Coutada, are only sparsely settled.

Whilst almost all of these people will directly or indirectly benefit from the current re-establishment process of Coutada 5, for obvious reasons the development company will need to concentrate on the rural communities inhabiting the more isolated regions. These people will gain most by the development of the Coutada (employment opportunities being their main advantage), but unfortunately those currently living in what will soon become the core wildlife-wilderness zone, will have to be resettled.

Any involuntary resettlement program is fraught with dangers; therefore AFWR will deal with the matter in a sensitive, transparent and universally acceptable manner. International norms and prescriptions, especially those of the IFC/World Bank, will be applied throughout the process. In order to ascertain the exact social situation on the ground in the core wildlife-wilderness block, a full Social Impact Assessment is currently underway. This survey is based on in-house experience available to AFWR, as well as numerous published data.

In the meantime, social indicators, social obligations, the effects of the fencing and game re-introduction schedule, and some key social strategies were evaluated. An analysis of the socio-economic impacts of the project indicated that of the two possible scenarios, namely a ‘no project’ or an ‘as is’, the ‘as is’ venture will not only be beneficial in the biodiversity context, but perhaps even more so when viewed from a social perspective. The project will generate a large number of employment opportunities in a very poor and undeveloped region where such opportunities were virtually absent, and the planned tourism ventures (including hunting and non-consumptive ecotourism) will be beneficial to the whole region.

The comprehensive Resettlement Action Plan (a 21-page section) is directly compatible with international requirements, involves a 14-point procedure, and is built on the evaluation and/or inclusion of the following aspects: resettlement principles; ceded land; compensation; preferential employment; resettlement-related impacts (such as policies, establishing the scale of the resettlement; location of the resettlement sites; public consultation requirements; and compensation issues); impacts on livelihoods; impacts on customary resource use; impacts on agricultural practices; and impacts on trade and the local economy.

Following on the RAP, an equally comprehensive Community Development Plan (CDP) involving eight implementation steps, has been prepared. The CDP is built on the prioritising of target groups, and on identifying the roles of the company and the local people in the process. A major constituent of the CDP is the creation of a Community Development Fund, to be administered by the to-be-established Coutada Community Trust.

In order to give effect to the various sub-plans contained in the Biodiversity and Business Plan, a full-blown Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan (PCDP) will be implemented. The seven steps of the PCDP include the establishment of an organisational framework, identification of all the stakeholders in the process, identifying the contents of the PCDP, embarking on an effective consultation and information campaign and drawing up an implementation schedule.