Serengeti Highway Cancelled: Victory for Responsible Development

Today the proposed Serengeti Highway — a road that would have cut through the iconic park and disrupted the migration of millions of animals —was cancelled. This is being hailed as a victory for the wildlife and natural systems of the Serengeti.

In the perceived dilemma of choosing between development and conservation, today’s decision is being seen as a conservation victory. That is wrong. What happened today was that development won. Responsible development.

The Tanzanian government attributes 14 percent of its GDP to tourism — driven largely by its bountiful wildlife, natural ecosystems and unique cultural diversity — and they think that there is more where that came from. Today a sovereign government, armed with the right information and appreciation for the real value of nature to its economy, made the choice to follow a path towards a sustainable economy that builds from and wisely uses its natural resources rather than sacrificing them for short-term gains.

What is also important is that other nations acknowledged the value of Tanzania’s natural bounty and offered to support the development of alternative roads. Responsible development is conservation. This is not a battle — it’s a partnership — and today, conservation and development won.

It’s a day to welcome the informed decision made by the government of Tanzania in this project – and hope that other countries look to it as a model for how responsible development decision-making can take place for the benefit of nature and people.

Conrad Savy is Senior Science Advisor for Business & Government Engagement in CI’s Science and Knowledge division.


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