Communities reap benefits from conservancies

Communities reap benefits from conservancies

APPROXIMATELY N$21 million was earned through Namibia’s Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM) activities in 2005.

The Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s CBNRM programme, established in 1996, gives rights to communal area residents to form land units called conservancies. This grew out of recognition that wildlife and other natural resources had disappeared in many areas and that measures to reverse the losses could enable communities to improve their living standards.At the end of 2005, there were 44 registered conservancies, which were generating a total income of almost N$14 million.The main sources of income are eco-tourism joint ventures and trophy hunting, Environment and Tourism Minister Willem Konjore said this week.An additional amount of almost N$7 million was generated by other CBNRM activities related to conservancies.This, said Konjore, was a significant increase from the N$600 000 earned by conservancies in 1998, when the first conservancies were gazetted.He said communities were providing direct and indirect benefits to members.Some have paid out cash dividends to members, some have supported local schools, while others have used part of their income to assist the elderly.Some income was used to protect water installations from elephants.”These all represent additional benefits that would not be available to rural people without conservancies and wildlife,” said Konjore.In 2005, conservancies employed 208 people full-time and 26 part-time.A further 307 full-time jobs and 58 part-time jobs were created by joint venture tourism lodges in conservancies.Agreements with trophy hunters provided a further 67 jobs.In 2005, the contribution of the CBNRM activities to the net national income was N$144 million.Konjore said conservancies also make an important contribution outside protected areas.By the end of 2005, conservancies covered more that 105 000 square kilometres of land.He made these remarks when he officially launched the Namibia Communal Conservancies Report for 2005 in Windhoek on Monday night.At the same occasion, the Executive Director of the Namibia Nature Foundation, Dr Chris Brown, said while the conservancy programme was undoubtedly Namibia’s most successful rural development initiative, a lot still needed to be done.He said if rural communities were given more rights to manage their natural resources, it would unleash significant market forces to rapidly grow the programme.”By devolving more rights we can expect greater private sector and community investment in natural resources and their sustainable development,” said Brown.According to the report, five conservancies now operate independent of donor funding.These are the Torra, Khoadi //Hoas, Salambala, Nyae-Nyae and Doro !Nawas conservancies.The report says the challenges facing conservancies in Namibia, include the need for more collaborative approaches towards management, monitoring and utilisation between conservancies and protected areas.This should be put in place because most wildlife does not stay within the confines of the conservancy borders.”Improved quota setting and wildlife harvesting approaches are needed so that conservancies can benefit from the more abundant wildlife,” said the report.The report said while conservancies have greatly improved conservation, it should be remembered that these communal areas remain farmland where people make a living from activities that often conflict with wildlife.This grew out of recognition that wildlife and other natural resources had disappeared in many areas and that measures to reverse the losses could enable communities to improve their living standards.At the end of 2005, there were 44 registered conservancies, which were generating a total income of almost N$14 million.The main sources of income are eco-tourism joint ventures and trophy hunting, Environment and Tourism Minister Willem Konjore said this week.An additional amount of almost N$7 million was generated by other CBNRM activities related to conservancies.This, said Konjore, was a significant increase from the N$600 000 earned by conservancies in 1998, when the first conservancies were gazetted.He said communities were providing direct and indirect benefits to members.Some have paid out cash dividends to members, some have supported local schools, while others have used part of their income to assist the elderly.Some income was used to protect water installations from elephants.”These all represent additional benefits that would not be available to rural people without conservancies and wildlife,” said Konjore.In 2005, conservancies employed 208 people full-time and 26 part-time.A further 307 full-time jobs and 58 part-time jobs were created by joint venture tourism lodges in conservancies.Agreements with trophy hunters provided a further 67 jobs.In 2005, the contribution of the CBNRM activities to the net national income was N$144 million.Konjore said conservancies also make an important contribution outside protected areas.By the end of 2005, conservancies covered more that 105 000 square kilometres of land.He made these remarks when he officially launched the Namibia Communal Conservancies Report for 2005 in Windhoek on Monday night.At the same occasion, the Executive Director of the Namibia Nature Foundation, Dr Chris Brown, said while the conservancy programme was undoubtedly Namibia’s most successful rural development initiative, a lot still needed to be done.He said if rural communities were given more rights to manage their natural resources, it would unleash significant market forces to rapidly grow the programme.”By devolving more rights we can expect greater private sector and community investment in natural resources and their sustainable development,” said Brown.According to the report, five conservancies now operate independent of donor funding.These are the Torra, Khoadi //Hoas, Salambala, Nyae-Nyae and Doro !Nawas conservancies.The report says the challenges facing conservancies in Namibia, include the need for more collaborative approaches towards management, monitoring and utilisation between conservancies and protected areas.This should be put in place because most wildlife does not stay within the confines of the conservancy borders.”Improved quota setting and wildlife harvesting approaches are needed so that conservancies can benefit from the more abundant wildlife,” said the report.The report said while conservancies have greatly improved conservation, it should be remembered that these communal areas remain farmland where people make a living from activities that often conflict with wildlife.

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