The Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park (GLTFP) has been instituted in December 2002 when the governments of Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe signed the Treaty establishing the GLTFP and defining two areas:
The Transfrontier Park, composed of three key protected areas, namely Kruger, Limpopo and Gonarezhou National Parks, and three protected land units adjacent to Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe.
The Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA), comprising a far larger mosaic of land in the three countries.
The Treaty establishes wide ranging objectives for the GLTFP, which attempt to encompass the broad spectrum of expectations associated with the establishment of the GLTFP among its many stakeholders. The Treaty fully recognizes the importance of the GLTFP not only in terms of nature conservation at an ecosystem scale, but also as an exceptional opportunity to foster regional cooperation, sub-regional economic development, as well as the development of transborder tourism, the establishment of broad partnerships among stakeholders and the development of management capacities through exchange of information.
The land adjacent to the protected areas that form the GLTFP is, with few exceptions, inhabited by a rural communities. These areas and their inhabitants have an important role to play in the TFCA. Local communities need to be involved in the planning framework to elicit their participation in resource management processes. Tangible economic benefits need to reach people residing within and around conservation areas for conservation efforts to succeed. Each patch of the TFCA mosaic involves a different mix of stakeholders belonging to three different countries, each bearing its characteristic traditions and institutional culture. The mix of stakeholders includes central and local government agencies, rural communities (made up of different ethnic groups, layers, and authority structures, both traditional and political), the commercial private sector in various roles, and a range of NGOs and donors.