For many years, wildlife conservation in Mozambique was governed by the Hunting Law enacted in 1968. This law governed wildlife conservation for 31 year until the Forest and Wildlife Law was enacted in 1999. This reflects the state of near abandonment of the wildlife sector during the civil war years from 1976 to 1992. The development of environmental policies and legislation in Mozambique started only after the World Summit on Environment in 1992 and the ratification of the Rio Conventions by the country in 1994. In the last 20 years, Mozambique has developed policies and laws for the protection, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
The Environmental Policy was adopted in 1995. It is the umbrella policy on environmental management and its overall objective is to improve the health and quality of life and promote sustainable social and economic development through sound management and use of natural resources and the environment. The Policy lays down the principles for its implementation which include the principle of sustainable utilization or resources, the polluter pays principle, public participation, benefits to local communities and recognition of traditional knowledge in the management of the environment. This policy calls broadly for the need of protecting the environment and for responsibility to compensate for environmental damages, but does not directly address wildlife crime.
The Forests and Wildlife Strategy and Development Policy was adopted in April 1997. The main objectives of the policy are biodiversity conservation, conservation of fragile ecosystems and combating poverty. The main principles for its implementation are generation of economics and social benefits of current and future generations, involvement of people dependent on resources in the planning and sustainable use of such resources and conservation of the resource base, including biological diversity.
The Conservation Policy and Implementation Strategy was adopted in November 2009. It focuses specifically on conservation areas. The main objective of this policy is to create a conducive environment for the protection of wildlife and their habitats through sound management of the national system of protected areas, which includes the protected areas network, institutional setup and protected areas financing mechanisms. The development of the CPIS was guided by the principles of ecological patrimony, sovereignty, participation of citizens in the management and benefits, environmental responsibility and international cooperation.