Namibia gets large grant for its parks

Namibia gets large grant for its parks

A TOP official in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism says the US$8.2 million granted to Namibia by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for the country’s Strengthening of Protected Areas Network (SPAN) project is the biggest external funding yet received for this purpose.

Dr Malan Lindeque, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, said it was not easy for Namibia to get the funding, as it had to compete with many countries also seeking funds from GEF. In addition, the project has to comply with international standards of project management.He said many of Namibia’s national parks were not in a good condition and the funding will help make major improvements.Lindeque, National Planning Commission Permanent Secretary Mocks Shivute and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Namibia Simon Nhongo signed the grant agreement in Windhoek on Friday.The money came from GEF through the UNDP.In Namibia dollars, this amounts to approximately N$50,2 million.Shivute said Government was contributing about N$164,2 million to the project (in cash and kind).Other development partners such as UNDP, KfW-GTZ, USAID, Conservation International, World Wide Fund (UK) and Namdeb are co-financing the project to the tune of N$41,6 million.Nhongo said the UNDP was delighted to secure the US$8,2 million from GEF for Namibia.He said they believed that national parks would benefit and that it would also help ensure environmental sustainability and the eradication of poverty in the country.”Certainly, contributing to unlocking the potential of the parks in Namibia will have a significant impact on the poverty alleviation and economic growth of communities in rural areas,” said Nhongo.In 2004, the Ministry of Environment secured preparatory funding of US$350 000 from the GEF, which was used in the formulation of the project through various studies and consultation processes.The ultimate goal for the SPAN project is biodiversity conservation and unlocking the economic potential of national parks for local, national development and poverty alleviation.The Ministry of Environment and Tourism said national parks are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation and also serve as a powerhouse for the country’s tourism industry, which is the mainstay of the national economy.Furthermore, parks have the still largely untapped potential to significantly alleviate poverty and encourage community development in rural areas.According to an economics study commissioned by the Ministry last year, the direct contribution of park-related tourism is 1,7 to 4,4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.Adding indirect contributions to the GDP such as employment at lodges adjacent to parks, agricultural and other products lodges buy, the figure could increase to 3,1 – 6,3 per cent of the GDP.If parks management and sustainable tourism are further improved, there is a strong possibility for a further increase in the contribution.The implementation phase of the SPAN project starts this month and will last until 2011.The project will improve national policy and planning for conservation by supporting new laws, establishing sustainable park-fencing mechanisms and designing a practical plan for integrated park management.It project will also work towards improving site-level management demonstration in PA sites – the Bwabwata-Mamili-Mudumu complex in Caprivi, the Skeleton Coast Link, Ai-Ais Hot Springs Park and the Sperrgebiet National Park.Namibia’s protected areas cover about 114 000 square kilometres.In addition, the project has to comply with international standards of project management.He said many of Namibia’s national parks were not in a good condition and the funding will help make major improvements.Lindeque, National Planning Commission Permanent Secretary Mocks Shivute and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Representative in Namibia Simon Nhongo signed the grant agreement in Windhoek on Friday.The money came from GEF through the UNDP.In Namibia dollars, this amounts to approximately N$50,2 million.Shivute said Government was contributing about N$164,2 million to the project (in cash and kind).Other development partners such as UNDP, KfW-GTZ, USAID, Conservation International, World Wide Fund (UK) and Namdeb are co-financing the project to the tune of N$41,6 million.Nhongo said the UNDP was delighted to secure the US$8,2 million from GEF for Namibia.He said they believed that national parks would benefit and that it would also help ensure environmental sustainability and the eradication of poverty in the country.”Certainly, contributing to unlocking the potential of the parks in Namibia will have a significant impact on the poverty alleviation and economic growth of communities in rural areas,” said Nhongo.In 2004, the Ministry of Environment secured preparatory funding of US$350 000 from the GEF, which was used in the formulation of the project through various studies and consultation processes.The ultimate goal for the SPAN project is biodiversity conservation and unlocking the economic potential of national parks for local, national development and poverty alleviation.The Ministry of Environment and Tourism said national parks are the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation and also serve as a powerhouse for the country’s tourism industry, which is the mainstay of the national economy.Furthermore, parks have the still largely untapped potential to significantly alleviate poverty and encourage community development in rural areas.According to an economics study commissioned by the Ministry last year, the direct contribution of park-related tourism is 1,7 to 4,4 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product.Adding indirect contributions to the GDP such as employment at lodges adjacent to parks, agricultural and other products lodges buy, the figure could increase to 3,1 – 6,3 per cent of the GDP.If parks management and sustainable tourism are further improved, there is a strong possibility for a further increase in the contribution.The implementation phase of the SPAN project starts this month and will last until 2011.The project will improve national policy and planning for conservation by supporting new laws, establishing sustainable park-fencing mechanisms and designing a practical plan for integrated park management.It project will also work towards improving site-level management demonstration in PA sites – the Bwabwata-Mamili-Mudumu complex in Caprivi, the Skeleton Coast Link, Ai-Ais Hot Springs Park and the Sperrgebiet National Park.Namibia’s protected areas cover about 114 000 square kilometres.

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