Dialogue on improving protected area governance for SADC starts

21 May 2014 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 21 MAY (NAMPA) – A two-day dialogue on improving protected area governance for livelihood security and biodiversity in southern Africa kicked off here on Wednesday.
The aim of the event is to take stock of the status of protected area governance in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region; to critically assess successes and failures; come up with sustainable solutions for conservation and for communities in light of many future challenges; and to a discuss a programme of work for improved protected area governance in the region.
Welcoming delegates at the event, the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Louisa Mupetami said the protected area network makes significant contributions to the conservation of biodiversity in Namibia. It also contributes to the socio-economic benefits of local communities that reside in or near such protected areas.
“Our protected areas are vital tools for conserving essential biodiversity. By managing our protected areas properly, we will leave the irreplaceable assets and the unlimited potential they possess to future generations,” she stressed.
At the same occasion, the Minister of Environment and Tourism Uahekua Herunga raised concern about human-wildlife conflict, saying government recognises that living with wildlife often carries a cost.
“Increased wildlife populations and expanded ranges into communal and freehold farming areas result in more frequent conflicts between people and wild animals, particularly elephants and predators in many areas,” he lamented.
This has resulted in livestock and crop losses, damage to water installations and in some instances, loss of human lives.
Because of the scale and urgency of the problem, government has developed an integrated, flexible and comprehensive policy towards dealing with wildlife conflict that can provide a framework for all stakeholders. The policy also meets the country’s national and international commitments to biodiversity conservation while taking into account the rights and development needs of the people, according to Herunga.
The event ends Thursday.