victoria-falls-.jpgThe government  together with their Zambian counterparts who are working together to produce an annual joint report on the Victoria Falls World Heritage Site have asked for an extension of the time frame to enable them to produce a good report.

Following media reports that the Victoria Falls World Heritage status is under threat of being downgraded following the failure by the Zimbabwean and Zambian government to submit on time a complete document on the Victoria Falls World Heritage site.

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Cde Francis Nhema said, the two countries have not flouted any rules governing the world heritage sites and said the report indicates that there are areas that need corrections among them the building of a hotel near the Falls on the Zambian side and the development of gullies along the Vic falls. 

Asked if there are possibilities of downgrading the Vic falls which is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Cde Nhema said the issue has not reached such levels.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi also dismissed threats of downgrading the Victoria Falls saying such ideals are works of detractors who have sought to economically fight the country without any success emphasizing that the tourism industry is one of the four critical pillars of economic development.

UNESCO requires the governments to form a Joint Management Team and an Intergrated Management Plan for the site.

It also requested that certain issues be addressed. The main issue in 2006 was Zambia’s move to further development within the site to which UNESCO felt compromised the site’s beauty and intergrity.

Other concerns were on invasive species such as lantana camara and the water hyacinth, pollution in the river, the water extraction by Zambia for hydro-electricity generation and the continued licensing of helicopters, microlights and other tourism services.