Managing biodiversity a pressing issue for Namibia

28 Jun 2018 19:30pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JUN (NAMPA) - The management of biodiversity has become a pressing issue that needs urgent attention, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Pohamba Shifeta has said.
Speaking at a dinner discussion by the World Wildlife Fund on the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA TFCA) on Thursday in Vietnam, Shifeta said mitigating the costs of communities living amongst wildlife has fast become one of the most pressing issues Namibia is faced with.
Shifeta explained that rural communities where wildlife exist are vulnerable to human wildlife conflict such as loss of livestock, crops, infrastructure and in some cases human lives.
“There is a need for countries bordering the KAZA TFCA to improve transboundary cooperation and collaboration in wildlife management,” said Shifeta.
He emphasised that given the abundance of wildlife in the area, there is a need for inter-regional focus in managing wildlife and reducing the cost to communities associated with human wildlife conflict.
Furthermore, he noted that currently there are no regional programmes or projects in place addressing the issue of wildlife crime.
“We need to improve our trans-boundary cooperation and collaboration in wildlife management in combating wildlife crime and illegal trade seeing now [that] KAZA TFCA is one of the largest corridors in the world,” he noted.
Equally, Shifeta noted there is a need to scale up opportunities for communities to diversify their livelihoods through the sustainable use of and value addition to natural resources.
He said that besides wildlife, natural resources such as fish, forest, indigenous fruits and vegetables should be commercialised for the benefit of the resident communities.
Situated in the Kavango and Zambezi river basins, KAZA TFCA is the largest trans-frontier conservation area in the world and was a development initiative between the governments of Angola, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe with the support of the United Nations Development Programme in 2011.
It is home to around 36 protected areas and to a rich populous of most of Africa’s rare and endangered species.