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Human wildlife conflict under the spotlight at national conference

Human wildlife conflict under the spotlight at national conference

By Clifton Movirongo.

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism’s national conference on human wildlife conflict is underway in Windhoek and will focus on reforms to policies and regulations with the specific goal of reducing the number and severity of all incidents.

The national conference is hosted at the Namibia Institute of Public Administration and Management and runs from 10 to 12 May. The event serves as a platform for stakeholders to review progress, opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the 2018 Revised National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management.

The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Hon Pohamba Shifeta, said the scale and urgency of the problem required the government to develop an integrated, flexible, and comprehensive policy for dealing with human wildlife conflict that can provide a framework for all concerned.

“We believe that more has been done in implementing this policy, and putting mitigation and preventative measures to manage human wildlife conflict. We also recognize that a lot still has to be done,” Shifeta said.

In addition, the minister said they developed policies to address specific environmental and wildlife management issues, including rural development, tourism development, and poverty reduction.

Vice President, HE Nangolo Mbumba, said the environment ministry continues to receive requests from the public, asking for compensation for damages caused by wildlife to human lives and properties, to livestock, and to crops.

The Vice President said that the impact of this conflict on people and their property is a challenge that conservation agencies and the environment ministry are faced with.

“This indicates a serious need to reduce the growing tension around human wildlife conflicts, as losses of human life, livestock, and destruction of crops as well as damage to infrastructure which affect the livelihoods of our citizens, cannot continue to be tolerated,” he said.

The conference also brings together experts to investigate and establish mechanisms that would provide compensation to affected parties whose family members have died or are severely injured as a result of human wildlife conflict.

Mbumba said the government has developed the National Policy on Human Wildlife Conflict Management to provide mechanisms to manage this type of conflict while still benefitting from wildlife and other natural resources.

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