MET prioritises wildlife protection in its budget

26 Mar 2016 10:30am
WINDHOEK, 26 MAR (NAMPA) – The wildlife and protected area management programme of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) is set to receive N.dollars 213 million for the 2016/17 financial year.
Minister of Environment and Tourism Pohamba Shifeta, who introduced his ministry's budget allocation of about N.dollars N.dollars 581 961 000 in the National Assembly (NA) on Thursday, said the programme is intended to conserve natural resources and wildlife habitat in Namibia. “The main activities are to manage the protected areas by implementing park management plans, as well as to safeguard wildlife by combating poaching and illegal trade in wildlife products,” he said.
The programme will also manage protected areas such as national parks, support community-based natural resource management and ensure the sustainable use of wildlife resources.
Namibia has of late been experiencing unprecedented levels of rhinoceros poaching.
The minister said 86 rhinos were poached in 2015, thus the combating of poaching and illegal trafficking of wildlife products has become the most important activity the ministry is responsible for.
“Namibia needs to be very well prepared to deal with threats to rhinos, elephant populations and other wildlife species in the light of recent trends elsewhere in Africa,” Shifeta said.
He added that the ministry would like to manage human wildlife conflict in ways that recognise the rights and development needs of the people; the need to promote biodiversity conservation; promote self-reliance and ensure that decision-making is quick, efficient and based on the best available information.
“In order to achieve this, we need to develop appropriate mitigation and monitoring methods and develop the capacity of all stakeholders.”
The MET identified six programmes to which its N.dollars 581 961 000 portion of the national budget will be allocated as follows:
Wildlife and protected area management - N.dollars 213 189 000
Protection and management of key species and natural habitat - N.dollars 31 775 000
Tourism development and gaming - N.dollars 81 485 000
Environment management and regulation – N.dollars 36 688 000
Planning, coordination, infrastructure development, maintenance, monitoring and evaluation - N.dollars 148 376 000
Administration, coordination and investments - N.dollars 70 448 000
Shifeta also described the Namibian tourism sector as being in a healthy state and the third largest contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP), as well as a significant driver of empowerment, job creation and poverty alleviation.