More efforts needed in human-wildlife conflict

26 Sep 2013 11:50
WINDHOEK, 26 SEP (NAMPA) - Community co-ordination and management of conflict between people and wildlife are some of the efforts needed to improve conservation as a social development movement in Namibia.
This is according to the World Bank and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). Their sentiments were published in a magazine titled ‘Land for Life - managing land sustainably for better livelihoods’ which was launched during a side-event at the 11th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 11) to the UNCCD on Wednesday night.
The magazine says conservancies have enabled communities to form joint ventures with commercial enterprises (primarily for tourism, but also enterprises that make commercial use of indigenous plants) more easily, which has generated income and other economic benefits for rural communities.
“The programme in Namibia has already demonstrated the effectiveness of devolving management authority over wildlife to landholders as a conservation mechanism. Still, to enhance conservation, more efforts are needed to improve community co-ordination and management of conflict between people and wildlife,” it stressed.
The magazine presents 40 innovative case studies from across the world, illustrating how people can restore the health of degraded lands.
These cases have been selected from 250 applications for the UNCCD ‘Land for Life Award’ from 2011 until 2013, and from the World Bank’s portfolio.
The formation of conservancies has become a social development movement as well as an accepted and holistic approach to conservation, according the magazine.
It said with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Life Programme, the World Bank and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) have provided support to conservancies for participatory land use planning, development and extension of community wildlife management and monitoring. Through the programme, communities are provided with incentives to manage and use resources in sustainable and productive ways to reduce deforestation, land degradation and biodiversity loss.
This support has facilitated the strategic introduction of wildlife in conservancies with low game densities and diversified income generated opportunities to increase non-beneficial benefits and new income to households.
In addition, the project also put a legal framework in place and built human capacity by incorporating integrated ecosystem management into the national programme.
Between the years 2005 and 2009, the total revenue for all the conservancies (71 conservancies during the publication of the magazine) including cash, (salaries, jobs from the tourism sector and various other payments) and proceeds from other sources (such as meat sold and consumed and plants utilised and sold) - increased substantially from US.dollars 1,4 million (about N.dollars 14 million) to US dollars 3,5 million (about N dollars 35 million).
There are currently 79 conservancies registered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.