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Managing natural resources for sustainable development

Namibia is the driest country south of Sahara and is faced by a unique set of environmental and social challenges, which makes the efficient and sustainable use of natural resources even more important to the development of the country.
Natural resources are the backbone of the economy with tourism being the country’s fastest growing economic sector. This sector is also said to be predominantly nature-based.
Since Independence, numerous interventions which sought to address issues such as land degradation caused by bush encroachment, deforestation, overgrazing and soil depletion have since been made.
In its efforts to turn the country into a Green Economy, the Ministry of Environment and Tourism with support from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have been instrumental in driving the green economy process in Namibia. The aim is to promote environmentally sound investments and production systems with innovative technology improvements offering sustainable ways towards an industrialised country.
Green Economic opportunities where identified which all form part of the Community0Based natural Resources Management (CBNRP) Programme. The CBNR programme integrates the economic,social and environmental strands odf sustainable developmen by enhancing resource management and conservation, rural development, empowerment and capacity building.
Encouraged by the opportunity to manage wildlife, forest resorces and tourism activities, local communities have now established communal conservancies and community forests in 11 regions country wide.
In 2011, over N$ 50 million was generated by commun al conservancies and in 2012, a total of 71 communal conservancies had been registered with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. It is estimated that communal conservancies employ around 900 people permanantly and 3.500 on a temporary basis.
If integrated within the framework of Vision 20130 and National Development Plans, green economy will fit into the context of sustainable development and has a potential to tackle issues such as uneployment, poverty, skills development and rural underdevelopment.

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