Pandemic puts pressure on nature conservation

Financial aid for communities in communal conservancies

22 September 2020 | Environment

Windhoek • Steffi Balzar

The German Organisation for International Cooperation (GIZ) granted financial support to 25 conservancies since May, as part of the project for community-based natural resource management (CBNRM).
According to the GIZ, the beneficiaries are communities most affected by the corona pandemic in the various conservancies, mainly due to the slump in tourism. The CBNRM project is managed by the local ministry of environment, forestry and tourism (MEFT) in partnership with GIZ on behalf of the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development.
“The CBNRM project provided around N$6.8 million for the conservation relief, recovery and resilience facility (CRRRF) of the MEFT to directly support nature conservation,” the GIZ said in a statement.
Since May, the funds have been paid out to the conservancies every quarter over a period of a year. The CRRRF, which was launched in May, ensures that communities in the conservation areas can continue with their activities. The aim is to secure jobs, reduce human-wildlife conflict, maintain anti-poaching measures and improve water infrastructure.
According to the GIZ, the conservancies that receive emergency aid from the CRRRF should be divided into three categories, namely conservation areas that have lost their main source of income due to the slump in tourism; Conservation areas that have not reported any expenditures in the past three years, but live in proximity to protected species (rhinos, lions and elephants) and have reported human-wildlife conflict. Conservancies that do not fall into either of these categories, but are assigned particular importance for the protection of biological diversity, also enjoy support.
“Approximately 230 000 people live in conservancies in Namibia and are crucial for the protection of wildlife and the generation of income for rural communities,” the GIZ said.
At least 60% of Namibians are dependent on the use of natural resources for their livelihood. “In 2018, conservancies created more than 4 900 jobs, with most of the employees working as game rangers or in tourism,” the GIZ said.
Covid-19 wiped out these sources of income for the time being, which necessitated this urgent action.

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