Fiscal policy, biodiversity, conservation, sustainable development and local economic incentives: important linkages and policy issues for Zimbabwe
Milne, Grant R.
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Zimbabwe’s genetic, species and ecosystem biodiversity is a critical foundation of rural and national development. At the macro-level, at least 30 percent of total GDP is dependent on the use of local biological resources such as soils, forests, wildlife, aquatic organisms and ecosystems. This figure includes both primary and secondary forestry, fishing and agricultural production, as well as tourism. Approximately 75 percent of the country’s total population of almost 12 million are directly dependent upon access to biological resources for subsistence food production and generation of modest cash incomes. Given the apparent dependence of the economy on biodiversity, conservation of this natural capital should be closely linked to positive sustainable economic growth and development. Since 1992, IMF structural adjustment programmes have guided government fiscal and monetary policies. Economic reform has seriously constrained public investment in human, man-made and natural resource capital, as well as the capacity to monitor and enforce sustainable use of biological resources. Limited empirical and considerable anecdotal evidence suggests that natural resource degradation is a serious problem in Zimbabwe, thus threatening sustainable development.