Namibian, German governments keen to strengthen ties to support nature conservation
By Clifton Movirongo.
The German government recently mobilized additional resources amounting to N$256 million to support the Namibian government in mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the conservation and tourism sector, officials said.
This comes after the conservation and tourism sector has been significantly affected by the loss of income from tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds will be provided through the KfW Development Bank to the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) through its Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilient Facility.
Accordingly, an additional N$150 million shall be channeled to the Community Conservation Fund of Namibia, while an additional N$106 million is envisaged for measures aiding national parks and protected areas to minimize detrimental ecological and economic impacts of COVID-19.
“Although local and international tourism seems to be recovering during the last months, substantial financial gaps in the sector remain and deteriorate countrywide employment, vital conservation activities and the survival of local communities, wildlife, and protected areas” the two governments said in a joint statement released Wednesday. “The aim is to support communal conservancies and the local tourism sector with securing ongoing employment of game guards, local people working for the conservancies and conservancy tourism businesses.”
These measures are to be implemented through the existing NamParks V project. Furthermore, the funds are meant to guarantee the continuation of anti-poaching and wildlife crime prevention measures and to continue ongoing patrols and implementation of park regulations.
“The recent cases of rhino poaching underline the great importance of the funds to prevent wildlife crime,” said the statement. “They come in addition to N$250 million, which was committed in 2020 and successfully implemented to mitigate negative impacts of COVID-19.
According to the statement, financial wage relief saved the jobs of 2339 local employees of tourism enterprises during times of need and 176 local tailors benefitted from orders to produce 216,000 face masks for the communities of 86 conservancies. Also, “significant support to the vehicle fleet of MEFT was financed to ensure ongoing patrols for wildlife protection and maintenance of park infrastructure.”
The Director General of the National Planning Commission, Hon Obeth Kandjoze (left) with Dr Thomas Dove of the Kreditanstallt fuer Wiederafbau’s Windhoek office.