Namibia benefits from international drive to boost protected areas

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT … Like in other parts of the world, conserved and protected areas in Namibia contribute to the sustainable use of natural resources and attract tourists. Photo: Absalom Shigwedha

Namiba is a beneficiary of a trilateral cooperation initiative aimed at strengthening protected and conserved areas in the country and in Zambia.

This is in accordance with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Green List Certification Standards, with technical support from China.

The objective of the project is to ensure that at least 10 protected and conserved areas in Namibia and Zambia benefit from guidance and capacity development.

In Namibia, the project is implemented under the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. According to the union’s project document, protected and conserved areas make an essential contribution to safeguarding nature and the services they provide.

The IUCN says about 20% of the earth’s surface is currently officially under protection.

However, with the growing economy and population, the demand for resources and land is increasing drastically.

Due to land degradation, Africa is already losing an area of forest and productive lands equivalent to 60 % of the area of Germany every year and conflicts over land use and the pressure to plunder or destroy existing protected areas are increasing.

The most protected areas in African countries are still far from being effectively conserved, the union says.

“Therefore, the Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas represent a global standard for fair and effective protected area management, and certifies best practices for area-based conservation for the 21 century,” the IUCN says.

The project has chosen China to provide Namibia and Zambia with technical support.

Phase 1 of the project (14 months) entailed preparation and implementation of the IUCN Green List assessment, while phase 2 identified and addressed gaps in the assessments. Both phases covered the period from September 2020 to March 2023 and recorded a number of achievements.

Priorities are to complete full assessments of the performance of at least 10 committed Green List sites in Namibia and Zambia, including site visits, mentoring, review and evaluation by the independent accredited experts.

The project is funded by Germany’s ministry for economic cooperation and development, with China providing technical assistance, and implementation being coordinated by the IUCN.

The director for the Department of Wildlife and National Parks in in the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Bennet Kahuure, says the project is very important to Namibia as conserved and protected areas in the country provide valuable goods and services. He says Germany has committed five millions euros to the project, to be used by Namibia, Zambia and China in implementing it.

The 2019 global report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warns that the current negative trends in biodiversity and ecosystem services may undermine progress towards 80% of the Sustainable Development Goals related to marine and terrestrial biodiversity, but also to poverty, hunger, health, water, cities, climate, oceans and land.

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