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Swaziland is a small, landlocked country of 17,364 square kilometers bounded to the East by Mozambique and otherwise surrounded by South Africa.

Geographically, Swaziland is unique. Despite its small area, the country is divided into four distinct physiographic regions from west to east. The Highveld, to the west, comprises mountains with numerous rivers, waterfalls and gorges. The climate is temperate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold dry winters. The Middleveld incorporates fertile soils and valleys with views of the Highveld and Lowveld. The warm climate is ideal for growing various crops and much of the agricultural activity is found in this region. The Lowveld is sub-tropical and is where two of the country's major crops, sugar and citrus, thrive. The Lubombo Escarpment is mountainous and is the dividing line between Swaziland and Mozambique. The climate is sub-tropical with mixed farming being the major activity. The population of Swaziland is approximately 800,000 people, with an agricultural based economy.

This information was provided by the Government of Swaziland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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Main Programmes

As one of the African countries that participated in the United Nations Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm in 1972, Swaziland subscribes to the promotion of environmental training, education and, in general, creating public awareness among the masses. The main players in this endeavor are the Ministry of Education for formal programmes, curriculum development and teacher training, the National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP) for non-formal programmes and various extension services from other ministries and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Realising the lack of awareness in environmental issues within the country, a National Environmental Education Programme (NEEP) was initiated by the Miliwane Trust in 1975. The programme was to develop a "Conservation Ethic" for Swaziland which would influence the conservation of nature resources and promote an appreciation of the natural environment. Progress has been minimal; however, two people have been identified and are due for further training as an addition to the two who are already running the programme. NEEP is under the auspices of the Swaziland National Trust commission (SNTC), a parastatal body entrusted, among other things, with creating an environmental education programme. Because of the shortage of personnel and equipment, NEEP is still in its early stages of growth and has much work ahead before it fulfils its objectives. NEEP has been actively involved in promoting environmental education througout the country, at various levels and in different ways. This has been through an outreach programme which includes school visits, field courses, radio programmes, national campaigns and special presentations. This programme was further strengthened beginning April 1994 when a programme supported and founded by IUCN and the European community took over.

Presently, they are working in partnership with the Clean and Beautiful Swaziland Forum which campaigns for national public awareness promotion to cleaner environments and the proper utilisation of available resources. NEEP is also in partnership with other organizations in a recycling programme (cans) and the Draft Anti-Litter Bill.

Under the formal sector of environmental education, the National Curriculum Centre (NCC) of the Ministry of Education has embarked on developing curricula for the pre-primary and primary levels. At the primary level, there is a separate unit called "Exploring and Protecting the Environment." At the secondary level, the NCC has developed an integrated course known as "Development Studies" which specifically targets environmental education.

The Teacher Training College level has designed its Diploma programme to integrate environmental education, particularly in Science, Social Studies and Agriculture. The University of Swaziland (UNISWA) offers several programmes with environmental relevance in the Departments of Agriculture, Home Economics, Science and Geography. The Chemistry Department has embarked on developing a programme in Environmental Chemistry, whereas the Geography Department has been renamed the Department of Geography, Environmental Science and Planning. The name change has been the result of the introduction of diversification and wider coverage of geographic and environmental training. There are three options with a common first year and specialization in Geography Education, Environmental Science, and Urban and Regional Planning for the other three years.

Major Groups

There are a number of NGOs involved in environmental education, including Yonge Nawe, Coordinating Assembly of NGOs, Africa Co-operation Action Trust (ACAT), Emanti Esive, to name a few. Their major thrust is in creating and spreading environmental awareness, education, promotion of community participation, initiating, raising and administering funds for conservation projects, and so forth. Yonge Nawe is quite popular, especially in schools with their Youth Conservation Clubs. They are changing their strategy of late by forming Adult Conservation Clubs to encourage and support the youth and mobilise other adults.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising

Among other achievements, the Swaziland Environment Authority (SEA) is conducting Environmental Awareness campaigns throughout Swaziland.


There is limited coverage of environmental issues by the media except for a few workshops, seminars, clean-up campaigns for environmental education and awareness. However, one of the local daily newspapers, the Times of Swaziland, has a supplement once a week on nature conservation (particularly on animals found in game and nature reserves). This is a step in the right direction, but a bit of diversification on the environmental issues would create an all-round awareness. The ideal situation would be that each of the media houses in the country should have a specific programme or page supplement on a regular basis to sensitize the wider population on environmental issues and inculcate the environmental ethic.

This information was provided by the Government of Swaziland to the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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