09 Jan 2018 16:40pm
WINDHOEK, 09 JAN (NAMPA) About 80 per cent of Namibias wildlife is found in the hands of the communities and outside government enclosures, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta has said, alluding to how conservancies support the Namibian economy.
Shifeta was speaking at the opening of the 2018 Pathways Africa Conference and Training here on Tuesday, an event co-hosted by the Colorado State University and The Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) in partnership with the Large Carnivore Management Association of Namibia and the Namibia Nature Foundation.
The tourism industry in Namibia has flourished, thereby contributing to the economy due to effective wildlife management and community cooperation, support and initiative, he said.
The conference under the theme, Living with Wildlife kicked off on Monday and will conclude on 11 January and aims to improve leadership skills and provide information on how to engage entire communities in conservation efforts.
Shifeta added that the conference is a milestone in achieving overall wildlife conservation, as Namibias conservancy model is internationally recognised and lays a strong foundation for communities to co-exist with wildlife, as it will inform future research, innovation, and collaboration, while also serving as a source of national pride.
According to him, Namibia has over 100 community-based, natural resource management conservancy, forest and fisheries programmes, covering more than 16 million hectares, which is approximately 20 per cent of the land mass of the country.
Speaking at the same event on the impact of conservation and tourism on an ordinary farmer, Namibian Conservationist, John Kasaona said the involvement of local communities in wildlife conservation can foster good conservancy management.
Communities are involved and farmers are empowered today to the extent that they run the conservancies themselves and can make decisions on how conservancies should be utilised, he said.
Meanwhile, according to the CCF, the conference will bring together an estimated 250 people from almost 30 different countries to Namibia, The Cheetah Capital of the World.