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Conservation must benefit people

Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Uahekua Herunga recently inaugurated the new Susuwe Park station in the Bwabwata National Park area. Pictured with the Minister is Hon. Lawrence Sampofu, Governor of the Caprivi Region and His Excellency, Onno Huckmann, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Uahekua Herunga recently inaugurated the new Susuwe Park station in the Bwabwata National Park area. Pictured with the Minister is Hon. Lawrence Sampofu, Governor of the Caprivi Region and His Excellency, Onno Huckmann, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

A fresh approach to managing protected areas by the Namibian Parks (NamParks) programme, known as the Integrated Park Management, has shown significant progress and development since the programme’s establishment in 2006.
The approach integrates development and the needs of park residents and neighbours into planning and management allowing conservancies, community forests and park residents of the North East parks to work as solid units that make it easier to manage shared ecosystems and resources.
According to Minister of Environment and Tourism, Hon. Uahekua Herunga, the approach also enables the voices of communities and residents to be heard and demonstrates that it is possible to achieve both conservation and development goals through a single approach. “Integrated Park Management enables areas to benefit the people living in and around the parks, for present and future generations,” said Uahekua.
Uahekua was speaking at the recent inauguration of the new infrastructure at Susuwe park station situated within the Bwabwata National Park in the Caprivi Region. The new infrastructure and equipment is going to help staff to improve productivity at the station. The new eco-sensitive station now dons 20 houses for staff members, an administration building which comprise of 3 offices, a boardroom, a workshop as well as a garage and game area.
NamParks received a total of 12.6 million in 3 phases from the German government through the KfW Development Bank, to improve the management and infrastructure of the parks and contribute towards the ecological and economic development of the Kavango-Zambezi (KAZA) Transfrontier Conservation Area of which Namibia is part of.
During the two phases of funding for the programme, significant economic development and environmental protection of the parks has occurred and funding has helped to generate revenue, provide jobs, reduce poverty, conserve biodiversity and protect habitants. Speaking at the same occasion, Senior Programme Manager of KfW, Dr. Ralph Kadel, encouraged communities to take care of the parks saying that well managed protected areas increase their number of wildlife and attract more visitors which in turn increase income for the people and the parks.
He said every newly offered bed in a lodge creates two new jobs hence communities are encouraged to safeguard wildlife and natural resources. “Most of the people here have understood one truth: poaching is quick money without future, wildlife management by the parks and communities is money for ever,” Kadel added.

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