27 Oct 2013 13:50pm
WINDHOEK, 27 OCT (NAMPA) - The World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has honoured Namibia with the 2013 Gift to the Earth Award for her outstanding conservation successes.
Former WWF president, Chief Emeka Anyaoku handed the prestigious award over to President Hifikepunye Pohamba during the launching of the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS) at Parliament Gardens in Windhoek on Saturday.
This is the second time Namibia receives the award - founding President Sam Nujoma received the same award in 1998 for Governments bold vision to empower communities through the creation of communal conservation.
Anyaoku said 15 years later, the WWF still acknowledges Namibias conservation movement.
The empowerment of Namibias communities and their support through smart partnerships has contributed to conservation achievements that are the envy of the world. Communities have recognised that wildlife is a valuable asset to manage rather than to poach for the pot. Evidence of this change is reflected in the fact that communal conservation has the largest free roaming rhino in the world and expanding populations of the elephant, lion and cheetah, he stated.
The formation of communal conservation has empowered participated communities to become legitimate, recognised stakeholders in conservation efforts to protect and conserve national resources.
According to Anyaoku, the conservation movement shares its experiences and practices with more than 20 countries all over the world. These include countries such as Cambodia, Mongolia, and the United States of America (USA).
It is thus evident that such conservation practices are not only practical in Namibia, but also other countries.
He urged Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) members and the international tourism sector to note how Namibia linked tourism to conservation and development.
Please take note of this type of responsible tourism, which is essential for tourism and conservation to succeed on the African continent. I must say I have found Namibias achievements truly remarkable, he said.
Receiving the award, Pohamba acknowledged the outstanding work of frontline personnel who made outstanding contributions in conservation efforts through hard work. He said they should continue their work in protecting the environment.
The conservation programme brought many benefits for members of conservancies in the form of income generation and reduction of human-wildlife conflict. The international recognition is a source of great encouragement, he added.
Close to 700 members of the adventure travel community are attending the tourism indaba, which is taking place on African soil for the first time from 26 to 31 October this year.
Some ATWS delegates are currently touring through Namibia to gain a deeper understanding of what Namibia has to offer before the main event of the summit commences in Swakopmund on 29 October.
The ATWS is organised by the ATTA.